Rural development still key to eradicating poverty: Deputy PM

By Khamphone Syvongxay
November 23, 2012

Woman villager working in the fields in the Champasak province of Laos.

Authorities must push for greater agricultural production to spur economic growth and create more development villages on the path to alleviating poverty.

“The shift in rural areas from traditional practices to modern management and techniques is a crucial step in the country’s development,” Deputy Prime Minister Mr Asang Laoly said yesterday when speaking at a two day meeting in Vientiane of the Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication.

There are just over one million families in Laos. Of those, about 140,000, or 13 percent, live in poverty, despite a five percent reduction over the last year.

The number of development villages rose from 883 to 1,634, while the biggest change was the drop in the number of poor villages – which fell to just 2,608 compared to 8,615 last year.

“Poverty is the reason for insecurity, for slowing down development, and for hindering the nation’s socio-economic development,” Mr Asang said.

It was recognised that the committee should increase its responsibility in carrying out projects to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, as the goals are the basic work plan for the country’s development.

“It’s important to focus on the human need to eradicate poverty and hunger problems, so each village should work together to reduce the number of poor families to just 10 percent of the total nationwide by 2015,” Mr Asang said.

He called for local and central arms of government to continue to develop villages, saying they are the focal point of the development process.

He also suggested the committee guarantee sustainable development in rural areas, by first establishing a working plan to develop the rural workforce through political ideology education, agriculture training, encouraging crop yields beyond consumption levels to boost household profits, and health education related to their field of work.

“Rural development is dependent on rural people being responsible for ensuring that their own activities are successful,” Mr Asang said.

He admitted that the co mmittee has room to improve its organisational structure, ranging from the central to local levels.

“We should increase cooperation with international organisations to encourage funding to help us implement our poverty reduction projects,” Mr Asang said.


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