By Meuangkham Noradeth
April 19, 2011
Government officials nationwide are working to improve the basic infrastructure and living standards of local people.
A new water treatment plant supplied by the government and the Association Internationale des Maires Francophones (AIMF) is helping the people of Pakngum district, especially those in Natham village, to improve their living standards and move out of poverty.
“Assistance from the Lao government and the AIMF to build a new water treatment plant has provided a good opportunity for the people of Natham to change their lifestyle and improve their living standards for the better,” said Head of Grassroots Construction of Pakngum district Mr Khoumphava Champasouk this week.
The project is part of government plans to develop all villages nationwide and to ensure Laos leaves the United Nations’ (UN) list of least-developed countries by the year 2020.
Prior to the construction of the water treatment plant, villagers collected water from artesian wells. The new water supply system will improve sanitation and give residents with more time for farming.
Construction of the plant began in November 2010 and it is now fully complete and operational.
AIMP provided more than one billion kip for the project and the government contributed more than 330 million kip.
The new water treatment plant has the capacity to produce 250 cubic metres (cbm) per day and supply 338 families.
The new water treatment plant and supply system in Natham village, Pakngum district, are part of the Lao government’s efforts to ensure all Vientiane residents have access to clean water by 2015.
All the water treatment plants in Vientiane have the combined capacity to produce 181,000 cbm of clean water per day. An additional 69,000 cbm a day is required to supply clean water to all of the city’s residents.
Natham district has declared basic poverty alleviation. Many local people have worked as farmers for many years and now they have an income from the sale of rice, cassava and other commercial crops, explained Mr Khoumphava.
He further went on to say that, “we have received funding from the government (50 million kip) to invest in farming and animal rearing”.
The district declared basic poverty alleviation in 2006, but officials are continuing to encourage locals to plant rice, cassava and vegetables and engage in animal husbandry.
About 90 percent of the people in Natham village are farmers who send their produce to be sold in Vientiane, making this an important factor in improving their living standards.
“We are now surveying the living standards of local people, and looking for ways to change their lifestyles for the better,” said Mr Khoumphava.
Pakngum is one of nine districts in Vientiane and relies heavily on agriculture; this initiative will help to boost trade and generate income.
The district is not on the list 47 poorest in Laos but officials are continuing to work hard to achieve poverty eradication by 2020.
The government’s long-term goal is to remove Laos from the UN’s list of least-developed nations by 2020.
Pakngum district officials are teaching farmers new techniques for cultivation with hopes of obtaining larger crop yields. The district consists of 53 villages composed of 49,408 people.