Lao PDR and IRRI expand partnership to increase food and nutrition security

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8 May 2017, VIENTIANE - The government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have entered into an agreement that strengthens their partnership in research and expands IRRI’s role in increasing the country’s food and nutrition security.

The host country agreement, signed today between representatives of Lao PDR and IRRI, will enable the continued and smooth conduct of scientific work that will contribute significantly to the development of the country’s rice sector.

“IRRI and the government of Lao PDR have had a long history of collaboration that goes back three decades. This strong partnership is now further solidified with the signing of the host country agreement between our two parties,” said Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Phouang Parisak Pravongviengkham during the signing ceremony. “The agreement will pave the way for stronger research and development collaborations in the country.”

IRRI Director General Matthew Morell said, “We are elated by our renewed partnership with Lao. Our work in Lao over the decades has yielded great results and we look forward to continuing that work.”

Collaboration between Lao PDR and IRRI—formalized in 1987 when the first memorandum of agreement was signed between the two parties and intensified in the 1990s—resulted in the transformation of Lao PDR’s rice sector from purely subsistence levels to commercial production. In 1999, the country achieved rice-self-sufficiency with a total rice production of more than 2 million tons. In 2012 and 2013, rice production exceeded 3 million tons, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Current collaborative projects with Lao PDR include the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE), which seeks to enable farmers in the most challenging environments, such as rainfed areas, to improve their livelihoods by introducing climate-ready technologies. CURE also operates in other parts of Asia, i.e., Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Myanmar.

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