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Pro-Rural Poor Public and Private Partnership in Lao PDR. Learning from best practices and successful strategies in Attapeu Province.

From the 25 February to the 1st of March, the Learning Route on Pro-Rural Poor Public and Private Partnership took place in Attapeu province, Lao PDR. Farmers and staff from IFAD programme and projects in Lao PDR found in the LR an opportunity to learn from successful experiences in small rural business developed in the frame of Public and Private Partnerships and supported by the IFAD – Rural Livelihood Improvement Programme (RLIP).This great experience is now completed (find the learning route intro post here).

What did we learn? What will we bring home?

During the Learning Route, the host communities invited participants to explore and to learn about the past and present situation of their villages. Cozy and joyful community meetings offered villagers the moment to tell about their story, explaining the main changes occurred over time, the main occupation and livelihoods, and to share with participants their visions and expectations about the future. 

Participants had the chance to experience the reality of the daily life of these champion communities, today engaged in partnership with the Public and Private sector. Communities showed how they are able to conduct small rural-business by selling to private enterprises their products, such as organic asparagus, natural dye textiles and organic coffee, counting on the support of governmental program.

Demonstration of asparagus sale, Darkhied village (Organic Asparagus Producers Group) 


Learning on the waving process of natural dyes textiles (Taliang Women Group)

Organic coffee nursery in Daxeum village (Organic Coffee Producers Group)


lessons learned…
How to create and strengthen long-term partnerships with the public and the private sector to promote rural business, its internal dynamics as well as the risks and opportunities for the parties to engage in such relationship, have been among the main lessons learned participants said they will “bring back home” along with new knowledge and ideas.

Community level
At community level, the presence of some elements has been recognized as key to establish a sustainable path for livelihoods improvement. The group cohesion, a shared willingness to achieve common objectives and a clear vision of the future, as key factor to mobilize people and to strengthen alliances over time; the accountability and the financial transparency within the same members of the group but also with external stakeholders and finally the equilibrated division of roles/responsibilities and an internal gender equity and participation in the group management and activities, are all element that should coexist at the same time. The presence of this elements will create internal cohesion of the group and a great sense of trust not only for the members but also for the external stakeholders like public and private sector that will be engaged in activities and business with them.
Private Sector
The identification of a private sector who is willing to undertake long-term investmentIndeed the return of the investment will arrive, but on longer time basis. The private sector will have to engage concretely with the community development, supporting the village in its process of learning and practicing new “business skills”. A trustful relation between communities and village must be established and with that a long term plan with shared objectives, where at the first place there is the community livelihood enhancement, through the market income generation activities development. Coordinating its activities with the public sector, the private investor will be able to achieve results more quickly, as the public sector play a crucial role not only in terms of supporting communities' mobilization and organization but also in terms of needed infrastructures for commerce.
Public Sector

The engagement of the public sector is fundamental in order to break the vicious circle of poverty in the rural communities. The public sector plays a fundamental role as interlink between the private sector, who otherwise would not be able to communicate and the communities. The public sector can protect the communities from unequal and unsustainable relations with the private sector, avoiding any type of exploitation (labor, land, rights etc). Moreover the public sector can address the knowledge needs and can create interlinks between villages. The public institutions can develop with the communities a larger scale plan for market sales development, giving more weight to the voice of united groups of farmers in their relation with the private sector. Finally the public sector can support the group of farmers in learning how to establish contracts, negotiations and how to develop sustainable strategies to stand alone in front of the private sector once the production and the skills will be appropriately developed.
Sharing Risks and Benefits: inter-relations among PPP actors
Starting new income generation activities within a PPP system is an appropriate way to let rise the livelihood in rural community. Trustful relations among well organized entities is very important. To achieve this balance many changes must take place. Strengthened and fair organizations (farmers group, private and public institutions) must dialogue and plan together the objectives in the future, not only in economic terms (market), but also in terms of individual, social and environmental development.

At the very beginning of a public, private partnership each stakeholder risks something, on the other side, once the relation are well established and balanced, there is a big potential of social, and economic growth.  

The innovation plans

Rich discussions have been the basis for the design of 11 “Innovation plans” where the participants identified specific and pragmatic actions that could improve the livelihood of their communities.

An internal competition saw as first winners of the competitions the following innovation plans:


1st Position
RLIP- Strengthening farmers groups organizations for improved banana plantation productivity.
RLIP – Strengthening Asparagus Producers Group in Attapeu province.
SNRMPEP – Building farmers know-how for pig rising.
2nd position
RLIP – Food security improvement though enhanced group organization and crops plantation.
SNRMPEP – Enhancing farmers capabilities in coffee plantation and sales.
3rd position
SSSJ – Enhancing group organization and farmers knowledge in cardamom plantation in Sayaboury though farmers-to-farmers trainings..
A group formed by technical experts will evaluate the plans and will follow up in order to identify the “final winners”. More information will be soon available here:

Many thanks to...

Once again we would like to thanks the communities of Darkhied, Taliang and Daxeum for having taking part enthusiastically to the Learning Route. Their knowledge and attitude inspired all of us, their professionalism and attention to the m

A last but not least thanks goes in primis to RLIP who hosted the Learning Route, facilitate in terms of logistics and proactively participated in the learning process and in the discussions, and thanks again to SSSJ, SNRMPEPXaysetha Agriculture Office, Phouvong Agri Office in taking part into the LR and made this event so special.


Additional info are available here (ProcasurAsia website)

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