Source: Lao News Agency
French Ambassador to the Lao PDR Siv-Leng Chhuor signed in Vientiane on Feb 10 the funding agreements with the 11 Lao organization beneficiaries of the French small grants program PISCCA (Innovative projects from civil societies and stakeholders coalitions) for 2023.
This is the second and last phase of the 2022-2023 PISCCA program, which supports civil society organizations’ initiatives in sustainable agricultural development.
In total, in 2022 and 2023 the program supported 19 projects with an envelope of over half a million US dollars. Moreover, through its support to civil society and the agricultural sector, this program is in line with the Team Europe Strategy in the Lao PDR.
In 2023, the 11 sustainable agricultural development projects supported by the PISCCA fund represent a total budget of USD 266,000. These projects will be implemented in Bokeo, Huaphan, Khammuan, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Xieng Khuang.
Of the eight projects already supported by the PISCCA program in 2022, five will be funded for another year and will be able to implement the second phase of their projects in 2023. Six are new projects that will run for twelve months from March 2023 to February 2024.
“Although we have been keen to diversify the areas of intervention of the projects financed, as we have favored projects targeting women and young people, five projects out of the 11 concern Xieng Khuang Province. It is in this province that CIRAD, French agricultural research and international cooperation organization, and the French NGO GRET are implementing, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the National University of Laos, the ASSET project, which is funded by the French Development Agency and the European Union. The synergies that may arise from this proximity should make it possible to improve the impact and visibility of projects in order to promote more sustainable agriculture,” said the French Ambassador in her opening speech of the PISCCA 2023 signature ceremony.
Mr. Saly Thongsavanh, Director of the Konglor Natane Ecotourism Association (AEKN), came from Konglor to sign the PISCCA grant agreement of more than LAK 256 million for 2023. This project will be the follow-up phase of the previous one that started in 2022. In 2023, the AEKN will encourage organic farming in the villages of Khammuan in order to supply the local market and tourism activities.
Enabling farmers to access the organic fertilizer market and reduce the use of chemicals is the objective of the Bio Compost Ban Phan Group (BCGP) project. This organization, represented by Mrs. Sidavanh Ouanvilay, had already received a grant in 2022. And in 2023, BCGP received a grant of more than 151M LAK to further develop the production of organic fertilizers in several villages of the district of Peak, Xieng Khuang.
Bamboo and NTFPs Development Association (BNDA) received a grant of more than 458M LAK to carry out a project aiming at improving the management of natural resources and encouraging the participation of women in their management in 3 villages of Xamtai district, Huaphan. Mrs. Mayoua Phengkhamhuak, President of the Association signed the funding agreement.
In 2022, BNDA was already part of the PISCCA grantees and implemented a project aiming at training women and youth.
The Community Association for Mobilizing Knowledge in Development (CAMKID), represented by its director, Ms. Phonesay Manivongsay will receive a grant of 498M LAK to encourage sustainable agro-ecological practices in five vegetable producers’ groups in Bokeo.
Disadvantaged Children and Youth Development Association (DCYA) based in Savannakhet and represented by its president Ms. Phuangkham Chanthavisay, received a PISCCA grant of 429M LAK to strengthen the role of women for the conservation and protection of Bueng-Or wetland in 3 villages of Xaybouli District, Savannakhet.
Contributing to the development of agroecology in Xieng Khuang is the main objective of the project of the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of the Lao PDR – Xieng Khuang Branch. Mr. Khamla Sibounheuang, director of the foundation, came from Xieng Khuang to sign the LAK 283M PISCCA funding agreement.
The association Friends of Pha Tad Ke, represented by its Secretary General, Mr. Sith Nitaphone, will develop, thanks to a PISCCA grant of 463M LAK, the breeding of crickets in the district of Xieng Ngeun, Luang Prabang, in order to improve the autonomy of women and girls and the food security of their families.
The association Khao Kai Noi will provide capacity building, training on bio-compost and Crotalaria Juncea production, and coaching for the members of rice farmers groups in four districts of Xieng Khuang. Mr. Khamphanh Sidavong, the association’s Director, came from Xieng Khuang to sign the PISCCA grant agreement of over 496M LAK for this project aiming at promoting the production of organic rice and the participation of women.
Developing sustainable agriculture and the production of tea and coffee through the promotion of gender equality and inclusion is the objective of the People with Disabilities Development Association Xieng Khuang Branch (PDDA XKH). Mr. Channa Sibounheuang came from Xieng Khuang to sign the 472M LAK PISCCA grant agreement for the implementation of this project in the village of Xong, Kham District, Xieng Khuang Province.
The Peak Organic Cooperative in Agriculture (POCA) based in Peak District, Xieng Khuang Province has been awarded a 499M LAK PISCCA grant for the implementation of a project aiming at promoting the role of youth and women in the development of clean agricultural production techniques, adaptation to climate conditions and sustainability in 14 villages.
Ms. Sodsuda Oudomsouk, Project Coordinator, is representing the cooperative during the PISCCA grant agreement signing ceremony.
Finally, the very young Sustainable Asa Mobilizing Development Association (SAMDA), represented by its Director Mr. Sonephet Hacknolath, has been awarded a grant of 465M LAK for the ESANRC project in Bokeo. This project aims at encouraging sustainable agriculture and the conservation of natural resources through the training of small-holder farmers on agroecology and sustainable agricultural techniques to enable them to become trainers themselves and spread their knowledge in 5 villages of Paktha District, Bokeo Province.
The five projects in Xieng Khuang will benefit from synergies with the Agroecology and Safe food System Transitions (ASSET) project, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the National University of Laos, the French research organization CIRAD, the French NGO GRET and funded by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Union.
The PISCCA selection committee was held on Monday 6th February 2023 and was composed of representatives from the National University of Laos, CIRAD, the European Union Delegation, the German International Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ), and the French embassy.