(KPL) Strategies to ensure safer and healthier chicken farming plus stronger village-based poultry production in the Lao PDR’s Luang Prabang province were the focus of a 2-day final workshop to evaluate and share results, lessons learnt and advocate for sustainability of project achievements under the country component of the regional project Evidence-Based Risk Management along the Livestock Production and Market Chain.
Strengthening stakeholder-wide engagement in risk reduction and disease prevention, the initiative has seen the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the Lao PDR collaborating with the Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Luang Prabang Provincial Department of Agriculture and Forestry with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
The workshop, held Oct 30-31, brought together 35 participants from sectors including model poultry farmers, farmer group representatives, project steering committee members and national and international partners.
The project supported interventions to improve poultry health and management, promoting healthy poultry production in three high-risk villages of Hadkham, Viengsavan and Xanghai villages, Luang Prabang province with farmers groups of 53 members.
A Poultry Heath Centre (PHC) was established in the local agriculture college to provide long-term technical support to poultry farming communities in Luang Prabang.
To minimize the risk of the spread of disease and losses to food security, the project piloted the use of innovative and rapid diagnostic technique, portable PCR, for early detection of novel AI subtype H7N9.
Community-based initiatives for processing, branding and marketing of local poultry products from these villages were applied to provide long-term incentives for economic benefits and sustainability.
Awareness-raising activities for the ‘Luang Prabang Native Chicken’ brand were conducted, including a competition for cooking and processing of the poultry and a promotional fair at Luang Prabang’s night market to promote benefits of sustainably-raised native chicken breeds that many consumers prefer.
The project has developed an excellent community-based approach where the farmers have been equipped with good knowledge and practices of poultry production, FAO Representative to the Lao PDR Mr Nasar Hayat said.
This approach not only brings economic incentives to the farmers but also contribute to reduce the risk of avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases and contributes to food security.
With the establishment of the Poultry Health Center within the Northern Agriculture and Forestry College, which provides poultry production training and capacity building to local staff as well as farmers, we strongly believe that the sustainability of the project interventions will be maintained beyond the project life.
Poultry farmers Mrs Pany and Mr Houmpheng from Luang Prabang province’s Xanghai village are among the beneficiaries. We prefer this breed because it is faster-growing and produces more meat, which means it attracts a better price, Mrs Pany said.
We also learned about good practices through the project, and now, we’d like to grow our flock to another fifty birds, and hopefully bring in some 2 to 3 million kip of income per month and steadily help to improve our livelihood.
Source: Lao News Agency