We met Mrs. Hongnapha, national facilitator for the Lao branch of the Agroecology Learning alliance in South East Asia (ALiSEA), in Vientiane. Created 4 years ago by the GRET, a French NGO, its purpose is to enable and help the development of sustainable agroecology practices at a regional and national scale.
To achieve this goal, Mrs. Hongnapha and the rest of Alisea’s team – around 90 people – focus on 3 main actions. First, sharing knowledge with and between farmers, NGOs, and stakeholders, thanks to an internet network and platform. Furthermore, Mrs. Hongnapha crisscrosses the country to convince farmers to adopt better practices, in particular stopping the use of chemicals. In Laos, farmers use internet far less than in neighbouring countries, thus the importance of word to mouth.
“Some sell vegetables they wouldn’t eat themselves”, Hongnapha explains.”They fear that abandoning chemicals will lessen their income. We try to ensure them that it’s a better long-term solution for their soils and for their health.” Alisea try to encourage organic farmers to form groups and thus access to an economic power. “Recently, we tried to post videos of success stories to encourage young farmers to start their own farms”, Hongnapha tells us.
Facilitator is not an easy task, but their efforts meet with success : more and more farmers come to them – the agroecological word spreads in Laos !
Copyright CirculAgronomie 2020