Inception Workshop for 2 ACIAR managed projects:
Biosecure market-driven beef production system & livestock disease management
Dr Bounkhoung Khambounheung, Director General, Department of Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry/ Distinguished guests, friends and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
I am delighted to join you this morning at this workshop to finalise arrangements for the two most recent projects in the Lao PDR by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research – or ACIAR.
ACIAR has a long history of supporting market-focused research collaboration in the Lao PDR – two decades of strong support for Lao agriculture and forestry.
ACIAR is currently managing over 20 Australian Government projects in 10 provinces across the Lao PDR – a $6 million – or 44 billion kip – annual Australian investment in Lao agriculture and forestry, and in developing Lao expertise.
Through ACIAR, Australia is helping develop fish passage technology in Bolikhamxay. We are introducing mechanisation to strengthen yields and reduce costs for Lao rice farmers. And we are helping combat disease for pig producers and the local citrus industry.
And today we begin work on new projects to ensure the Lao PDR is better positioned to take advantage of the growing demand for quality beef products in this region.
Two new 5-year initiatives that build on the success of earlier ACIAR collaboration in livestock health and management.
Initiatives which will work with traders and producers to strengthen beef production marketing chains and clean market production. And which will improve livestock management to prevent disease – the major constraint to the sustainable development of livestock trading in this country.
Our overall aim, of course, is a stronger livestock industry in the Lao PDR. Disease free. And able to fully exploit domestic and international market opportunities.
Through this project work in areas previously affected by Food and Mouth Disease, I look forward to the time, in the not too distant future, when the Lao PDR can announce FMD free zones. And witness the benefits that will bring for Lao beef exports.
I thank our many partners in this project – the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, NAFRI, the National University of Laos and Savannakhet University. And Professor Russell Bush and his team from the University of Sydney.
And I know there are important links that we will need to exploit between these projects, and the excellent work being done by the ADB and IFAD in beef commercialisation.
Australia remains a partner committed to helping the Lao PDR achieve its economic development goals. In agriculture, in which most of the Lao population are engaged, and in other priority areas.
Thank you for the opportunity to join you this morning, and every success in this research collaboration going forward. I look forward to witnessing the progress over the next five years.