(Approximately 70 million CHF, 34% of overall Mekong Regional budget)
- Smallholder women and men farmers improve their food security and livelihood resilience through improved capacities for diversification of products and by securing access to production means, agricultural land, and forests.
- Smallholder women and men farmers earn higher incomes through the use of demand-driven advisory services and better access to markets.
At the regional level, SDC will contribute to improved land and forest governance. SDC will address the potential negative effects of foreign direct investment in land, which in many cases restricts local communities in their access to and use of agricultural land, and which leads to increased pressure on natural resources and on people. The “Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security”, approved in 2012 by the Committee on World Food Security, will constitute a frame of reference for this intervention. By addressing politically sensitive issues at an overarching regional level, this intervention complements projects in the individual countries. SDC will also promote the use of agricultural practices that are both climate change and disaster-resilient as well as market-oriented.
In Vietnam, SDC’s objective is to contribute to improved income of poor, mostly ethnic minority women and men farmers in the northern uplands. The focus is to consolidate successful experiences and to have a larger impact on poverty alleviation at the provincial level. Ongoing (regional) value chain initiatives will continue to be supported. The main focus during the last period of bi lateral cooperation will be on the handing over to main stakeholders, ensuring sustainability of achievements, integrating successful approaches and methodologies into the government system, and on capitalizing results.
In Lao PDR, SDC will follow a two-track approach: (i) The orientation on market access will be strengthened, and the partner portfolio diversified, maintaining a close coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, while working increasingly through private sector institutions. Broadening the partners and putting a special focus on strengthened farmers’ organizations, will contribute to the diversity of actors who are able to voice their demands and assume an active role in the national development process. Smallholder farmers will be supported to engage in commercial production and to benefit from fair and stable market access. Entry points are gender sensitive5 support of value chains, strengthen village entrepreneurs, farmer associations, and private providers of rural advisory services. (ii) The focus on the vulnerable, poor, mostly ethnic minorities will continue. Through improved management of soils and water, land use planning in view of secure rotational cultivation schemes, and the promotion of agro-biodiversity, poor farmers will be better prepared to cope with the ongoing changes in land use, the emerging climate variability, and the negative effects of several new policies.6 In addition, SDC will contribute to clearance of unexploded ordnance from agricultural land.
In Cambodia, About 90% of Cambodia’s poor people live in rural areas with a high incidence of food insecurity and malnutrition. SDC plans to con tribute to inclusive and equitable growth of the agricultural sector as a driver of change for poor rural female and male farmers. The future program will have a two-pronged yet closely interlinked focus: i) To improve the livelihood resilience of smallholder farmers (including femaleheaded households and ethnic minorities) through enhanced production capacities and improved market access and ii) To support women and men, in particular communities making a living from forest and fisheries, through secured and equitable access to community re sources as well as market access for non-timber forest products.