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Lao People's Democratic Republic

16

Projects Includes planned, ongoing and closed projects

US$ 459.27 million

Total Project Cost

US$ 143.54 million

Total IFAD financing

329,775

Households impacted


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The Context

Over the past decade, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has experienced rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. Although the national poverty rate declined steadily, by 40 per cent over the last 15 years, 26 per cent of the population still lives below the poverty line. 

More than three quarters of the Lao people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and natural resources for survival. Poverty is largely rural,  concentrated especially in remote and mountainous areas adjacent to the north-eastern and eastern borders with Viet Nam.

Agriculture and natural resources accounted for 24.8 per cent of GDP and over 70 per cent of employment as of 2014. More than 80 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, while more than half of households are subsistence farmers with annual incomes below US$300.

While agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, farming is largely practised at the subsistence level, and access to improved technologies and markets is generally poor. Farmers, especially from large families, struggle to meet their household’s food requirements. Most use traditional farming methods and lack knowledge of new technologies and skills to improve yields. Also affecting productivity are declining soil fertility and lack of access to irrigation.

The country’s geography provides an opportunity to develop products and raw material that can tap into high-value markets in neighbouring countries. Lao People’s Democratic Republic sees itself as a ‘land bridge’, providing the most direct overland transport routes between its seaboard neighbours. This requires improving and developing infrastructure to facilitate connections between rural areas and urban markets.

The Strategy

IFAD began operations in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1980. 

Our strategy is to ensure that poor rural people have increased opportunities for sustainable food and nutrition security and livelihoods. Together with government agencies and development partners, IFAD has identified areas where it has a comparative advantage and complements other donors’ activities.

The IFAD country strategic opportunities programme has three main objectives, focused on improving:

  • community-based access to and management of land and natural resources;
  • access to advisory services and inputs for sustainable, adaptive and integrated farming systems;
  • access to markets for selected products.

The following cross-cutting issues are common to all three objectives:

  • building capacities of government, beneficiaries and service providers;
  • engaging with women as key partners in all production and marketing systems;
  • constructing infrastructure needed by farmers, such as small-scale village irrigation, or for market access, such as farm-to-market roads;
  • forming farmer and producer common-interest groups;
  • building resilience to climate-related risks and improving capacity to adapt to climate change.

Country Facts

An estimated 61 per cent of the population in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic lives in rural areas and the majority depend on agriculture and natural resources for survival. 

Since 1980, IFAD has invested US$122.4 million to finance 14 projects and programmes related to agricultural development, benefiting 272,875 households.


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Country documents

Lao People's Democratic Republic: Country strategic opportunities programme (2018-2024)

Type: Regional and country document, Country Strategic Opportunities Programme
Region: Asia and the Pacific

Projects and Programmes

PLANNED Under design after concept note approval

APPROVED Approved by the Executive Board or IFAD President

SIGNED Financing agreements signed

ONGOING Under implementation

CLOSED Completed/closed projects

No matching projects were found
No matching projects were found
No matching projects were found

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Related news

UN chief stresses importance of investing in smallholder farmers during upcoming visit to Lao PDR and Cambodia

July 2019 - NEWS
The President of IFAD, Gilbert F. Houngbo, will meet the Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), Thongloun Sisoulith, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, other high-ranking officials, as well as representatives of UN teams in country, to discuss investments that can improve food and nutrition security, generate employment and mitigate the effects of climate change in rural areas.

Healthy diets vital for progress in Lao PDR, say UN food agencies FAO, IFAD and WFP conclude three-day visit to see nutrition programmes

May 2019 - NEWS
The heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) today concluded a joint visit to the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) with a call for greater investment in nutrition.

UN food agencies to visit Lao PDR to support efforts to boost nutrition

May 2019 - NEWS
The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), with a representative from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will visit the Lao People's Democratic Republic from 14-16 May 2019 to raise greater awareness about the importance of integrated food systems to improve food and nutrition security, and to see first-hand the agencies’ collaborative programmes in action.

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Related stories

Stewards of biodiversity adapt to a changing climate

March 2016 - STORY
Local varieties grown in the programme area. Clockwise from top: hands holding yellow maize, white maize and bambara groundnuts Zimbabwe: Scaling up People's

Celebrating the International Day of Rural Women

October 2017 - STORY

October 15 is the International Day of Rural Woman and a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of rural women around the world. Rural women play key roles in their families, communities and countries, and yet they are often severely disadvantaged, economically, socially and politically.

Boosting nutrition one TV show at a time in Laos

July 2017 - STORY

In rural communities in northern Laos, an IFAD supported programme is using a television soap opera to help tackle extreme poverty and malnutrition.

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Related publications

Stories from the field: Innovative agriculture

March 2020
Unlocking opportunities for rural entrepreneurs and farmers in the sub-Mekong region.

Investing in rural people in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

March 2020

IFAD began operations in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1978. Our strategy is to ensure that poor rural people have more opportunities for sustainable food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods.

Collection of sustainable land management technologies practices by smallholder farmers in Lao PDR

August 2019
This collection of sustainable land management (SLM) technologies and approaches was compiled as part of the Scaling-up SLM practices by smallholder farmers project funded by IFAD. 

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Related videos

Laos: Nutritious Entertainment

March 2016 - VIDEO

Half the children in Laos are stunted and chronic under-nutrition is a major issue facing the country. Now a soap opera is teaching people in the most remote parts of the country how and what to cook for better nutrition. Produced with assistance from the Government of Canada.

Protecting the endangered bong tree

April 2016 - VIDEO

Date: 6 April 2016 Incense sticks are ever-present at Buddhist shrines across South East Asia. They are mostly made from the bark of the endangered bong tree, which is endemic to the region. Bong trees were once abundant in countries like Laos but, in 2008, overexploitation led the Lao government to declare that they were on the verge of extinction.