Launch of Nutrition and Food Security project in Khammouane
What a perfect start to the new year: In the first week of January, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HPP Laos, our partner Health Poverty Action (HPA) and the Government of Laos was signed to officially commence project activities in Khammouane Province. The EU-funded program is part of large-scale efforts to combat malnutrition in Laos as well as to foster sustainable agriculture and promote climate-smart farming methods. In total, 5,000 farmers and their families in six Districts will be reached: Bualapha, Mahaxay, Thakek, Nhommalath, Xaybuathong and Kounkham (marked in green in the map).
While HPA will mainly focus on health-related activities such as increasing community capacity to prevent, respond to and manage the wider determinants of malnutrition, HPP Laos will work with farmers on increasing their food security and dietary diversification. To this end, we will use our well-established Farmers’ Clubs approach. Our agriculture team has already been deepening their knowledge of the Farmers’ Clubs concept and integrated sustainable agriculture methods in the run up to the MoU’s signing. Three experts from Malawi who have been involved in the setup of countless Farmers’ Clubs throughout Africa are supporting the team in all areas of project development and practical know-how.
For instance, our office in Pakxan was complemented by a demonstration garden early last year: The agriculture team established it from scratch with a high focus on integrated systems such as composting and the production of earthworms and black soldier fly larvae. The latter in turn are fed to our catfish and chicken, suppliers of protein, while worm cast is also an excellent way of enhancing the garden’s soil. Throughout the garden, the method of companion planting is used to control pests and diseases in a natural way. Adding herbs also helps since they function as repellents. Apart from developing and practicing their skills, our team can now complement office lunches with produce from the garden, making them healthy and balanced.