Authorities confer on agro-biodiversity initiative
Northern provincial authorities are focused on restoring biodiversity in agriculture to support production development for upland farming families as part of poverty alleviation efforts. Provincial authorities from Xieng Khuang, Huaphan and Luang Prabang recently met in Xieng Khuang province for the 8th National Steering Committee meeting to discuss The Agro-Biodiversity Initiative (TABI). At the meeting, participants discussed plans to manage farmland and forestry protection to ensure remote areas are developed and to upgrade the living standards of residents in mountainous areas. The programme plans to support beekeeping and commercial honey production as well as livestock breeding including pigs and chickens. TABI also aims to develop new rice seed varieties, increase the various kinds of fruit trees available while supporting the growing of industrial plants. Meanwhile, programme officials will upgrade the skills of local farmers in their efforts to support biodiversity development as well.
TABI aims to improve capacity for effective governance of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Laos. This includes sustainable agriculture systems which improve livelihoods of upland men and women farmers while enhancing and conserving biodiversity. Farmers in TABI operational areas will be able to grow agricultural produce on a sustainable and profitable basis, based on the principles of economic viability, social equity, and biodiversity conservation. It also aims to allow communities to maintain access and control over their natural resource base. Indicators include local land use plans to protect high biodiversity habitats, farmers using land conflict resolution recourse mechanisms to protect their rights and women having equal rights with men for land ownership. The programme aims to exchange knowledge and information, relevant for developing and implementing sustainable approaches to agro-biodiversity conservation, for shaping the necessary policy framework and for monitoring impacts that are generated, shared and systematically evaluated. TABI is a long term commitment by the government and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation which seeks to conserve, enhance and manage the biological diversity found in farming landscapes in order to improve the livelihoods of upland farming families in northern Laos.