Moving forward after the flood: Improving vegetable production and livestock management
As last year during the rainy season, the south of Laos was hit again by severe flooding in August and September. Khammouane was one of the affected provinces, and so were some of our target villages in the food and nutrition project. In late September, EU ECHO conducted a site visit to Bualapha, Yommalath and Mahaxay Districts to assess villagers’ needs for relief. Farmers whose crop and garden yields have been severely limited by the flood will receive additional support such as food and nutrition packages, cash transfers and livestock replacement.
Our agriculture team are driving project activities forward nevertheless and can look back on some weeks full of action. For instance, all 100 target villages’ Veterinary Workers received theoretical and hands-on training in livestock management and how to provide advice to farmers on animal health and care. The Veterinary Workers were also equipped with kits including vaccines and medication. Now, they will be able to better support their peers when their animals are sick, or to prevent diseases in the first place. The trainings also served as preparation for the project’s distribution of livestock to farmers which is expected to be done next month.
In terms of vegetable growing, the farmers are trained in sustainable agriculture, vegetable production and the use of non-timber forest products (NTFP) The Farmers’ Clubs are currently preparing and establishing their demonstration plots in each of the 100 villages. Every FC will have their own demo plot in which they will trial various sustainable agriculture techniques such as integrated pest management and companion planting, test the growing of new crops, and install irrigation systems. The farmers will be able to use the demo plots as best practice examples and training grounds for their own production. The plots will be and already are a key component of Farmers’ Clubs’ trainings which are conducted on a fortnightly basis.