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Int'l agencies making effort to improve food security in Laos

By: Deng Shasha Posted: October-04-2011 in
Deng Shasha

VIENTIANE, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Some international organizations have initiated a program to help Laos to improve food security in the country, according to a press statement released to Xinhua on Monday.

The European Commission -- United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (EC-FAO) Food Security Program facilitated a second multi-agency collaborative meeting on Sept. 22-23 in Vientiane to develop a linked risk and vulnerability survey to improve food security in Laos.

The two-day meeting was attended by 35 participants representing the Lao government, non-governmental agencies, key United Nations agencies and the European Union, and featured technical presentations, large forum discussions and group work, discussing three key issues: analytical framework, information needs and sampling.

According to the press statement, the program has been supporting the organization of a technical support group of interested partners from both government and non-government agencies to assist government partners in the design, implementation, analysis and reporting of the risk and vulnerability survey, with the aim of linking information and decision-making.

Phouangparisak Pravongviengkham, Director General of the Department of Planning in the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, said the survey is an important exercise that is directly linked with the Agriculture Census.

He added that there is a demand for good food security information and analysis in order to have more efficient planning and design of interventions in the area of food security and nutrition, pointing out the need to revisit existing policies on the issue.

According to the press statement, the agricultural survey on risk and vulnerability presents a unique opportunity to increase understanding and information for decision makers working with risk reduction and food security, and also to enhance government and non-governmental skills, knowledge and capacity in food security information analysis.

Because food security and risk and vulnerability are complex concepts that depend on various interlinked sectors, there is a need to ensure that experts from all relevant sectors are involved in the planning and execution of the study, which should provide information to allow decision makers to enhance resilience of the poor to cope with increased risk and vulnerability.

Dong Qingsong, FAO Representative in Laos, said the analysis of food insecurity should be carried out in a dynamic context. It is essential to not only look at the current incidence of inadequate nutritional outcome, but also to identify the individuals, households or communities who are more at risk and vulnerable to suffering in the future.

He said that for policies and interventions aimed at reducing food insecurity to be effective, they must take into account both those who are food insecure at present and those who are vulnerable to food insecurity.

The EC-FAO Food Security Program is now working closely with the Department of Planning's Center for Statistics and Information to consolidate information needs for the survey and plan for future action. It is expected that the design and planning phase will start in October 2011, and the final results of the survey will be available next year in August 2012.

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