Just before the end of our Lao adventures, we had the luck to exchange with Hoa TRAN QUOC, technical assistant from EFICAS (Eco-Friendly Intensification and Climate resilient Agricultural Systems), a research-development project launched by the CIRAD in partnership with the DALaM (Department of Agriculture and Land Management) and funded by EU and AFD since 2014.
Their goal ? Developing and implementing a territorial approach and intervention mechanisms to support farmers towards a sustainable use of their land, and in addition, improving the resilience and adaptation of these communities to climate change. 12 villages of three northern provinces (Luang Prabang, Houaphan and Phongsaly) have been selected, according to precise criterias : pedoclimatic criterias, socioeconomic situation, accessibility, etc.
“We have a limited number of villages, as it’s a research-development project, we aim first to demonstrate the efficiency of our approach instead of spreading resources to many villages. EFICAS is not a development project”, explains Hoa. “In each village, the objective is to involve the whole community in the management of their land and natural resources. We exchange about their specific problems and expectations, then we design together a Community-based Agricultural Development Plan (CADP) based on the Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP).”
“PLUP” means a geographical planning of the land use — what is done and where. This system allows the villagers to be the decision makers, rather than local authorities. EFICAS then supports them as they re-organize the territory, and adopt agro ecological practices. And the results ? “5 years later, most are convinced of the benefits of agroecology”, Hoa tells us.
But some obstacles remain, especially access to market. The project ends in November 2019, leaving the future of the concerned sites uncertain. We truly hope EFICAS will succeed in gathering the funding to continue this great project.
Copyright CirculAgronomie 2020