President urges help for rural farmers

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
February 4, 2011

President Choummaly Sayasone

President Choummaly Sayasone yesterday called on agriculture officials to set up projects to help the poorest people rise above poverty.

The president issued the directive to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as it prepares to implement the first year of the 7th five-year National Socio-economic Development Plan (7th NSEDP).

Officials were asked to focus on vulnerable and poor people in village groups (koum ban) and designate them as focal development zones by initiating projects to demonstrate technical know-how in crop planting and animal husbandry to boost productivity.

“We must introduce the projects to poor communities, where people are still using indigenous farming methods,” the president said.

The guidance is intended to ensure the ministry’s priority frameworks are implemented in line with the directions in the draft 7th NSEDP, and the draft 9th Resolution of the Party Congress, which is to be approved at the congress in March.

In realising the target the president suggested improving agricultural demonstration centres across the country to train local staff in advising farmers on agricultural production and animal husbandry activities.

He asked the ministry to set targets and make yearly follow up inspections, saying he will also be keeping an eye on progress.

“At the end of this year, I will meet with all of you again and together we will review the progress made,” said President Choummaly, who is also Party Secretary General.

“We will see how many projects have been implemented in the koum ban.”

The policy is critical to help bridge the development gap between urban and rural areas, especially in mountainous areas where several districts are facing rice shortages.

The president also called on officials to explore alternative farming opportunities for those who live in mountainous terrain and have no rice fields so they can earn a living.

He asked that serious steps be taken to enable the government to lower the poverty rate from 26 percent at present to 15 percent, and reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

By introducing machinery, modern techniques and good seeds farmers will increase productivity and quality, the president said.

He also suggested carrying out a study on the potential of group farming to boost output and recommended studying lessons learnt from China and Vietnam.

Source

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