Overview Objectives

Agriculture in Laos contributes more than 52 percent of GDP and employs more than 80 percent of the labour force. Rice is the dominant crop of a sector that is still largely subsistence farmed. Modernising the country is a government priority outlined in the Vision 2020 Statement, including advances in agriculture. Strengthening research in agriculture is an important component of this planned advance. Most funding for agricultural is external and directed to large projects. There remains a funding gap for smaller projects, particularly for recently graduated agricultural scientists and those returning from study overseas. The LARF will fill this gap by funding small research grants aimed at building and maintaining career momentum for scientists.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

Approximately 90% of funding support for agricultural research in Laos is coming from sources external to Laos. The majority of this funding is for large agricultural projects, many of which have specific development objectives and often undertaken on a collaborative institution-to-institution basis. Lao scientists have little opportunity to access research funds for smaller programs of development consistent with the national agricultural research and development guidelines for the country. The Lao Agricultural Research Fund (LARF) was established to provide Lao scientists with an opportunity to access, and compete for, funds for agricultural research. The net outcome of LARF will be, in combination with other collaborative initiatives, the development of the independent research capabilities of Lao researchers and their respective institutions, in line with national research and development priorities and objectives. The LARF Project follows a Pilot LARF Project (ASEM/2005/008) supported by ACIAR which provided support funding for 13 small projects of 1 to 3 years duration. Support for training initiatives within the context of this project (ASEM/2006/060) included opportunities for training for leaders of LARF projects still current which were supported through the Pilot LARF Project (projects LARF-1 TO LARF-13)

The LARF Project also includes a significant training component, with training initiatives proposed in the areas of - research proposal development, technical writing skills, biometrics and English.

During the period January 2007 to April 2008, opportunities were provided for Lao scientists to develop and submit for funding consideration, research proposals of from 1 to 3 years duration, with a project budget limit of US$12,000 (but with the budget for any single year not to exceed US$5,000). Areas of research for which proposals are being considered for funding support include - crop production, livestock production, fisheries research, forestry systems research, natural resource management, integrated agricultural systems research, and economic and socio-economic studies relating to agricultural production. An independent LARF Assessment Panel was established within the main national agricultural research institute in Laos, the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), to evaluate the proposals submitted in reference to specific criteria. Represented on this Panel are NAFRI, the National University of Laos (NUOL), the National Agriculture and Forestry Extension Service (NAFES), and ACIAR.

Approximately 90% of funding support for agricultural research in Laos is coming from sources external to Laos. The majority of this funding is for large agricultural projects, many of which have specific development objectives and often undertaken on a collaborative institution-to-institution basis. Lao scientists have little opportunity to access research funds for smaller programs of development consistent with the national agricultural research and development guidelines for the country. The Lao Agricultural Research Fund (LARF) was established to provide Lao scientists with an opportunity to access, and compete for, funds for agricultural research. The net outcome of LARF will be, in combination with other collaborative initiatives, the development of the independent research capabilities of Lao researchers and their respective institutions, in line with national research and development priorities and objectives. The LARF project follows a pilot LARF project (ASEM/2005/008) supported by ACIAR which provided support funding for 13 small projects of one to three years’ duration. Support for training initiatives within the context of this project (ASEM/2006/060) included opportunities for training for leaders of LARF projects which were supported through the pilot LARF project (LARF-1 TO LARF-13).

The LARF project also includes a training component, with training initiatives proposed in the areas of - research proposal development, technical writing skills, biometrics and English (however, some of these training initiatives will take place within the context of more general ACIAR training support rather than within the context of the limited LARF training budget).

During the period October 2008 to February 2009, opportunities were provided for Lao scientists to develop and submit for funding consideration, research proposals of from one to three years’ duration, with a project budget limit of US$12,000 (but with the budget for any single year not to exceed US$5,000). Areas of research for which proposals are considered for funding support include - crop production, livestock production, fisheries research, forestry systems research, natural resource management, integrated agricultural systems research, and economic and socio-economic studies relating to agricultural production. An independent LARF assessment panel within the main national agricultural research institute in Laos, the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) evaluates proposals submitted for funding consideration, in reference to specific criteria. Represented on this Panel are NAFRI, the National University of Laos (NUOL), the National Agriculture and Forestry Extension Service (NAFES), and ACIAR (through the ACIAR LARF consultant). Following this initial assessment, proposals recommended for funding support are then forwarded to ACIAR headquarters for further assessment by specialists in the respective fields of research.

Research Proposal Support:

In 2007 funding support was approved for six research proposals for a total of U$54,549, while in early 2008 funding support was approved for a further seven proposals, for a total of US$47,035. In May 2009, funding support was recommended for a further five proposals with a commitment of US$45,000. The institutions, project titles, project duration and budgets approved for the 18 projects for which financial support has been committed in the period 2007 to 2009 is summarised below.

Approximately 90% of funding support for agricultural research in Laos is coming from sources external to Laos. The majority of this funding is for large agricultural projects, many of which have specific development objectives and often undertaken on a collaborative institution-to-institution basis. Lao scientists have little opportunity to access research funds for smaller programs of development consistent with the national agricultural research and development guidelines for the country. The Lao Agricultural Research Fund (LARF) was established to provide Lao scientists with an opportunity to access, and compete for, funds for agricultural research. The net outcome of LARF will be, in combination with other collaborative initiatives, the development of the independent research capabilities of Lao researchers and their respective institutions, in line with national research and development priorities and objectives. The LARF Project follows a Pilot LARF Project (ASEM/2005/008) supported by ACIAR which provided support funding for 13 small projects of 1 to 3 years’ duration.

The LARF Project also includes a training component, with training initiatives proposed in the areas of research proposal development, technical writing skills, biometrics and English (however, some of these training initiatives will take place within the context of more general ACIAR training support rather than within the context of the limited LARF training budget).

During the period October 2009 to February 2010, opportunities were provided for Lao scientists to develop and submit for funding consideration, research proposals of from 1 to 3 years’ duration, with a project budget limit of US$12,000 (but with the budget for any single year not to exceed US$5,000). Areas of research for which research proposals were considered for funding support in the period 2006-2009 included crop production, livestock production, fisheries research, forestry systems research, natural resource management, integrated agricultural systems research, and economic and socio-economic studies relating to agricultural production. LARF project proposals considered for support in early 2010 were required to more specifically complement the focus of ACIAR’s medium-term strategy for the Lao PDR, as outlined in ‘ACIAR Country Profile for Laos 2009-2010’.

An independent LARF Assessment Panel within the main national agricultural research institute in Laos, the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) evaluates proposals submitted for funding consideration, in reference to specific criteria. Represented on this panel are NAFRI, the National University of Laos (NUOL), the National Agriculture and Forestry Extension Service (NAFES), and ACIAR (through the ACIAR LARF consultant). Following this initial assessment, proposals recommended for funding support are then forwarded to ACIAR headquarters for further assessment by specialists in the respective fields of research.

In the period late 2009 and early 2010, two other donor agencies to Lao PDR decided to adopt the LARF model for providing support to agricultural research. These agencies are the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which is committing funds for research on agro-biodiversity conservation through The Agro-Biodiversity Initiative (TABI), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Funding was committed through the SDC supported TABI initiative in late 2009, while the first of SIDA funding support became available in early 2010.

Research Proposal Support:

In the four year period 2007 to 2010, LARF funding support was approved for a total of 22 research proposals, involving budget support of approximately US$181,000. The institutions, project titles, project duration and budgets approved for the projects for which financial support was approved in the period 2007 to 2010, are summarised below.

LARF Project No*
Institution
Project title
Project duration and commencement
Budget approved
(US$)
LARF Projects Supported in 2007

LARF-14
NAFRI - Rice and Cash Crops Research Center
Maize variety development for the Lao PDR
3 years
May 2007
$12,000
LARF-15
Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Services Office (PAFO) - Savannakhet Province
Development of gall midge resistant lowland rice varieties
3 years
April 2007
$9,700
LARF-16
Living Aquatic Resources Research Center (LARReC)
Improvement of frog strains for improvement of frog production
3 years
March 2007
$10,615
LARF-17
LARReC
Study of fish diseases in fish culture in Vientiane Municipality
3 years
May 2007
$9,660
LARF-18
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center (LRC).
Study of the growth response of native pigs from Leucaena leaf meal supplements to basal diets of rice bran and maize
2 years
May 2007
$8,105
LARF-19
National University of Laos (NUOL) -
Faculty of Agriculture
Effects of Erythiana leaf and cassava leaf hay as supplementary feeds, on the voluntary intake and growth performance of native cattle
1 year
March 2007
$4,469
LARF Projects Supported in 2008

LARF-20
NUOL - Faculty of Agriculture
Feed intake, digestibility and nitrogen retention in growing goats fed a basal diet of Alternanthera denta ‘Ruby’
2 years
May 2008
$5,735
LARF-21
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center (LRC)
Utilization of urea treated rice straw and supplementation of Titonia diversifolia Hay with cooking oil in raising cattle under smallholder conditions
1 year
May 2008
$5,000
LARF-22
NAFRI - LRC
Effect of paper mulberry forage trees as a supplement for growing goats in smallholder production systems under upland conditions
1 year
May 2008
$4,800
LARF-23
NAFRI - LARReC
Locally available materials as feed ingredients for indigenous catfish (Hemibagrus wychoides) production in integrated farming systems in Laos
1 year
May 2008
$4,500
LARF-24
NARFI - Rice and Cash Crops Research Center
Development of soybean varieties for the Lao PDR
3 years
May 2008
$12,000
LARF-25
NAFRI - Horticulture Research Center
On-farm testing technologies for off-season orange production
2 years
June 2008
$10,000
LARF-26

NAFRI - Agriculture and Forestry Research Center
Dynamics of rubber plantations in the Lao PDR: rubber concessions, land regulation and land use dynamics
1 year
May 2008
$5,000
LARF Projects Supported in 2009

LARF-27

NAFRI - Rice and Cash Crops Research Center
Improving commercial rice cultivars for resistance to blast in the Lao PDR
3 years
June 2009
$12,000
LARF-28

NAFRI - Horticulture Research Center
Farmer perceptions and practices relating to off-season vegetable production and marketing for Vientiane Capital
1 year
June 2009
$5,000
LARF-29
NAFRI - LRC
Improvement in the survival and growth rate of weaned piglets in smallholder systems through supplementary protein from forage legumes and local feed sources
2 years
June 2009
$8,000
LARF-30

PAFO (Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office) - Savannakhet Province
Development of gall midge resistant rice varieties
3 years
May 2009
$12,000
LARF-31

PAFO - Huaphanh Province
Spinach or Stylosanthes as potential protein supplements in a diet of ground maize for local pig production
2 years
June 2009
$8,000
LARF Projects Supported in 2010

LARF-32
NAFRI - Rice and Cash Crops Research Center
Breeding of aerobic rice varieties for increased rice production in Lao PDR
3 years
June 2010
$12,000
LARF-33
NAFRI - LRC
Improving and scaling out of improved feeding systems in smallholder pig production in Xieng Ngeun district, Luang Prabang province
2 years
June 2010
$10,500
LARF-34
NAFRI - LARReC
Study of the extensive culture of catla carp, bighead carp and silver carp in cages without supplementary feeding in the Nam Houm Reservoir
2 years
June 2010
$7,000
LARF-35
NAFRI - LRC
Increasing the survival and growth rates in village chicken production, based on improved nutrition and management
1 year
June 2010
$4,750
* In addition, support was provided for 13 projects through an ACIAR supported LARF Pilot Project in 2006 (ASEM/2005/008)

Training:

Biometrics (Experimental Design, Data Analysis and Interpretation): Biometrics related training is undertaken within the context of general ACIAR training support in Laos, rather than within the limited budget training provisions of LARF. Nine LARF project leaders were among 23 participants in a biometrics training course conducted in June 2008. The course was conducted by biometricians attached to the University of Queensland, Australia. No further ACIAR supported biometrics courses were conducted following the June 2008 course, to February 2010, but a request by NAFRI was made to ACIAR in early 2009 for support for further courses.

Research Proposal Development: Training in this area has been provided on a one-to-one basis and usually associated with specific project proposal development. With the increased awareness of LARF, opportunities are provided for potential project leaders to submit project concepts for discussion and comment (comment being provided by members of the LARF panel, as well as from other independent sources), before the development and submission of full project proposals. Advice is provided on the further development of individual proposals when it was considered that the project concept met ACIAR-LARF guidelines and fell within Lao national research and development priorities.

Technical Writing Skills Development: Writing skills training courses have been synchronised with the availability of the trainer, a qualified voluntary instructor from Australia, who conducted an initial writing skills training course for LARF project leaders in January 2008 and a second course in July-August 2009. A third course is scheduled for the period 17 June to 2 July 2010. The live-in intensive courses were conducted at the National Livestock Research Center in Namsuang district of Vientiane Province. Support for these courses has been covered by a training component within the LARF budget. There is no further budget provision for the conduct of courses beyond 2010.

Publication of LARF Research Output: An important requirement of all projects for which support funding is provided through the LARF initiative, is the dissemination of research output, particularly through publication of research and technical articles in the NAFRI coordinated Lao Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. A total of 15 papers have either been published or are in the process of development for publication, based on LARF research initiatives supported to May 2010.

Approximately 90% of funding support for agricultural research in Laos is coming from sources external to Laos. The majority of this funding is for large agricultural projects, many of which have specific development objectives and often undertaken on a collaborative institution-to-institution basis. Lao scientists have little opportunity to access research funds for smaller programs of development consistent with the national agricultural research and development guidelines for the country. The Lao Agricultural Research Fund (LARF) was established to provide Lao scientists with an opportunity to access, and compete for, funds for agricultural research. The net outcome of LARF will be, in combination with other collaborative initiatives, the development of the independent research capabilities of Lao researchers and their respective institutions, in line with national research and development priorities and objectives. The LARF Project (ASEM/2006/060) follows a Pilot LARF Project (ASEM/2005/008) supported by ACIAR in 2006 which provided support funding for 13 small projects of 1 to 3 years duration.

The LARF Project also includes a training component, with training initiatives proposed in the areas of - research proposal development, technical writing skills, bio-metrics and English (however, some of these training initiatives are taking place within the context of more general ACIAR training support and/or with support from The Crawford Fund, rather than within the context of the limited LARF training budget).

During the period October 2010 to February 2011, opportunities were provided for Lao scientists to develop and submit for funding consideration, research proposals of from 1 to 3 years duration, with a project budget limit of US$12,000 (but with the budget for any single year not to exceed US$5,000). Areas of research for which research proposals were considered for funding support in the period 2006-2009 included - crop production (including horticultural crops), livestock production, fisheries research, forestry systems research, natural resource management, integrated agricultural systems research, and economic and socio-economic studies relating to agricultural production. LARF project proposals considered for support in 2010 and 2011 have focused on complimenting the focus of ACIAR’s medium-term strategy for the Lao PDR, as outlined in ‘ACIAR Country Profile for Laos 2010-2011’.

The 43 projects that have been supported through the ACIAR-LARF initiative (Projects ASEM/2005/008 and ASEM/2006/060) have been divided among 7 Lao national research agencies and departments, the National University of Laos, the Luang Prabang Agriculture and Forestry College, and Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Offices. The total direct financial commitment in support of these projects to December 2011 has been US$353,000.

An independent LARF Assessment Panel within the main national agricultural research institute in Laos, the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) evaluates proposals submitted for funding consideration, in reference to specific criteria. Represented on this Panel are NAFRI, the National University of Laos (NUOL), the National Agriculture and Forestry Extension Service (NAFES), and ACIAR (through the ACIAR LARF consultant).

In the period 2009 to 2011, three other donor agencies in Lao PDR decided to adopt the LARF model for providing support for agricultural research in Laos. These agencies are the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which is supporting research related to biodiversity conservation (TABI), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) supported ‘Upland Research and Capacity Development Program’ and the EU supported Northern Uplands Development Program (UNDP). Funding was committed through the SDC supported TABI initiative in late 2009; the first of SIDA funding support became available in early 2010, while the EU commitment was made in late 2011 for commencement in early 2012, with further EU funding support already being committed for 2013 and 2014.

Research Proposal Support:

In the five year period 2007 to 2011 (Project ASEM/2006/060), ACIAR-LARF funding support was approved for a total of 30 research proposals, involving budget support of approximately US$248,990. The institutions, project titles, project duration and budgets approved for the projects for which financial support was approved is summarised below.

LARF Project No*
Institution
Project title
Project duration and commencement
Budget approved
(US$)**

LARF Projects Supported in 2007
LARF-14
NAFRI - Rice and Cash Crops Research Center
Maize variety development for the Lao PDR
3 years
May 2007
$12,000
LARF-15
Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Services Office (PAFO) - Savannakhet Province
Development of gall midge resistant lowland rice varieties
3 years
April 2007
$9,700
LARF-16
Living Aquatic Resources Research Center (LARReC)
Improvement of frog strains for improvement of frog production
3 years
March 2007
$10,615
LARF-17
LARReC
Study of fish diseases in fish culture in Vientiane Municipality
3 years
May 2007
$9,660
LARF-18
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center (LRC).
Study of the growth response of native pigs from Leucaena leaf meal supplements to basal diets of rice bran and maize
2 years
May 2007
$8,105
LARF-19
National University of Laos (NUOL) -
Faculty of Agriculture
Effects of Erythiana leaf and cassava leaf hay as supplementary feeds, on the voluntary intake and growth performance of native cattle
1 year
March 2007
$4,469

LARF Projects Supported in 2008
LARF-20
National University of Laos (NUOL) - Faculty of Agriculture
Feed intake, digestibility and nitrogen retention in growing goats fed a basal diet of Alternanthera denta ‘Ruby’
2 years
May 2008
$5,735
LARF-21
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center (LRC)
Utilization of urea treated rice straw and supplementation of Tithonia diversifolia Hay with cooking oil in raising cattle under smallholder conditions
1 year
May 2008
$5,000
LARF-22
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center (LRC)
Effect of paper mulberry forage trees as a supplement for growing goats in smallholder production systems under upland conditions
1 year
May 2008
$4,800
LARF-23
NAFRI - Living Aquatic Resources Center (LARReC)
Locally available materials as feed ingredients for indigenous catfish (Hemibagrus wychoides) production in integrated farming systems in Laos
1 year
May 2008
$4,500
LARF-24
NARFI - Rice and Cash Crops Research Center
Development of soybean varieties for the Lao PDR
3 years
May 2008
$12,000
LARF-25
NAFRI - Horticulture Research Center
On-farm testing technologies for off-season orange production
2 years
June 2008
$10,000
LARF-26

NAFRI - Agriculture and Forestry Research Center
Dynamics of rubber plantations in the Lao PDR: rubber concessions, land regulation and land use dynamics
1 year
May 2008
$5,000

LARF Projects Supported in 2009
LARF-27

NAFRI - Rice and Cash Crops Research Center
Improving commercial rice cultivars for resistance to blast in the Lao PDR
3 years
June 2009
$12,000
LARF-28

NAFRI - Horticulture Research Center
Farmer perceptions and practices relating to off-season vegetable production and marketing for Vientiane Capital
1 year
June 2009
$5,000
LARF-29
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center
Improvement in the survival and growth rate of weaned piglets in smallholder systems through supplementary protein from forage legumes and local feed sources
2 years
June 2009
$8,000
LARF-30

PAFO (Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office) - Savannakhet Province
Development of gall midge resistant rice varieties
3 years
May 2009
$12,000
LARF-31

PAFO (Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office) - Huaphanh Province
Spinach or Stylosanthes as potential protein supplements in a diet of ground maize for local pig production
2 years
June 2009
$8,000

LARF Projects Supported in 2010
LARF-32
NAFRI - Rice and Cash Crops Research Center
Breeding of aerobic rice varieties for increased rice production in Lao PDR
3 years
June 2010
$12,000
LARF-33
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center
Improving and scaling out of improved feeding systems in smallholder pig production in Xieng Ngeun district, Luang Prabang province
2 years
June 2010
$10,500
LARF-34
NAFRI - Living Aquatic Resource Center (LARReC)
Study of the extensive culture of catla carp, bighead carp and silver carp in cages without supplementary feeding in the Nam Houm Reservoir
2 years
June 2010
$7,000
LARF-35
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center
Increasing the survival and growth rates in village chicken production, based on improved nutrition and management
1 year
June 2010
$4,750

LARF Projects Supported in 2011***
LARF-36
DOA Plant Protection Center
Exploration of integrated disease management of Durian Phytophthora dieback
3 years
June 2011
$12,000
LARF-37
NAFRI - Living Aquatic Resource Center (LARReC)
Comparison of one local feed and two commercial feeds for Clarias garepinus (American catfish) in cages in earth ponds
1 year
June 2011
$3,300
LARF-38
NAFRI - Living Aquatic Resource Center (LARReC)
Study of paddy rice fisheries production using different rice species
1 year
June 2011
$5,000
LARF-39
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center
Intensification of crops-livestock integration systems - the use of maize stalks for feeding cattle
2 years
June 2011
$8,880
LARF-40
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center
Evaluation of the replacement of soybean with cassava, paper mulberry and sunflower leaf meals in a maize based diet for local weaner pigs
1 year
June 2011
$4,970
LARF-41
NAFRI - Livestock Research Center
Cattle and buffalo fattening - an alternative income source for rice-based farmers in Champassak and Xieng Kouang Provinces
2 years
May 2011
$10,000
LARF-42
NAFRI - Agricultural Land Resource Center (ALRC)
A study of organic and inorganic nutrient input options for wet-season lowland rice cropping on the Attapeu Plain
1 year
May 2011
$5,000
LARF-43
NAFRI - Agricultural Land Resource Center (ALRC)
Phosphorus management for lowland rice on the acid soils of Pek District, Xieng Kouang Province
1 year
May 2011
$5,000
* In addition, in 2006 support was provided for 13 projects through an ACIAR supported LARF Pilot Project (ASEM/2005/008).
** In addition to direct project budget support, an additional 5% equivalent of project funding approved is provided to NAFRI to assist with administrative support costs.
*** In 2011 a further 10 projects were supported by SIDA and SDC funding sources, based on the ACIAR-LARF model of project design and assessment.

Training:

Biometrics (Experimental Design, Data Analysis and Interpretation): Biometrics related training has been undertaken within the context of general ACIAR training support in Laos, and more recently with funding support from The Crawford Fund, rather than within the limited budget training provisions of LARF. Three courses have been conducted with opportunities for participation by LARF Project leaders, the first in 2006, the second in 2008, and the third in October 2011.

Research Proposal Development: Training in this area has been provided on a ‘one-to-one’ basis and usually associated with specific project proposal development. With the increased awareness of LARF, opportunities are provided for potential project leaders to submit ‘project concepts’ for discussion and comment (comment being provided by members of the LARF panel, as well as from other independent sources), before the development and submission of full project proposals. Advice is provided on the further development of individual proposals when it was considered that the ‘project concept’ meets ACIAR-LARF guidelines and falls within the Lao PDR national research and development priorities.

Technical Writing Skills Development: Writing skills training courses have been synchronised with the availability of the trainer who conducted a qualified voluntary instructor from Australia. These courses are conducted for LARF project leaders who have completed their projects, or are near completion, and who are working on articles for publication in the Lao Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. Three courses have been conducted between 2008 and 2011.

Publication of LARF Research Output: An important requirement of all projects for which support funding is provided through the LARF initiative, is the dissemination of research output, particularly through publication of research and technical articles in the NAFRI coordinated Lao Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. A total of 21 papers have either been published or are in the process of development for publication to December 2011, based on LARF projects supported by ACIAR.

LARF Seminar Presentations: In early 2010, the National Agricultural Research and Development Institute (NAFRI) in Lao PDR commenced a monthly seminar series ‘Seminars for Agriculture and Forestry Development’. The objective of these seminars, which are conducted mainly in the Lao language, is to disseminate research output of research staff within NAFRI and provide a mechanism for exchange of research ideas and research approaches among Lao research staff. LARF project leaders will, in future, be invited to make presentations relating to their LARF research projects in this seminar series

Progress in the Period January-June 2012

Advertising of funding for LARF project support within the seventh round of LARF (LARF-7) commenced in October 2011, with visits taking place to key Lao research institutions and advertising of LARF on the website of the Lao National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI). Opportunities were also provided for proposed LARF-7 project leaders to discuss proposal concepts before their full development and formal submission. The closing date for the receipt of LARF-7 project proposals was 28 February 2012. The independent ‘LARF Assessment Panel’ met at the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) in Vientiane, Laos, to assess submissions, on 30 March 2012.

In the March 2012 assessment of LARF proposals, LARF-ACIAR support was approved for a total of 10 additional LARF projects, the projects covering a range of disciplines: land and soil management (3 projects); livestock production systems (3 projects); fisheries (3 projects); and cropping systems (1 project). The value of LARF-ACIAR project assistance approved for LARF-7 projects was approximately US$58,500.

As noted in 2010, other donors have adopted the LARF model for funding agricultural research initiatives (within NAFRI and within other Lao research institutions). In 2010 and 2011, Swedish SIDA supported projects primarily focused on agricultural development in Northern Laos (particularly in the uplands), while the Swiss assistance has been primarily focused on bio-diversity conservation (this research is coordinated through the Planning Division within the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). In 2012 (LARF-7), further LARF assistance amounting to US$28,000 was provided through the SDC supported Northern Upland Development Project (NUDP), with a focus on socio-economic and gender related studies. Opportunities for funding through these sources, is advertised at the same time as research funding opportunities through LARF-ACIAR.

LARF project leaders continue to share their research output in English and Lao languages, through technical papers which are submitted the Lao Journal of Agriculture and Forestry for publication. As of June 2012, a total of 22 research papers and workshop articles based on LARF research proposal output, had been written or were in the process of being written. Project leaders are also asked to make presentations on their projects, at relevant workshops hosted within the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) in Laos.

In the period January - June 2012, support was obtained through The Crawford Fund of Australia, for the conduct of two training courses in Laos, with LARF project leaders being major beneficiaries of the training. The first course (April 2012) was a biometrics course for Lao researchers in the area of cropping systems research. The course was conducted by biometricians attached to the Faculty of Agriculture at Khon Kaen University. The second course was an ‘Agricultural Writing Skills Course’ conducted in late June 2012. In addition to LARF project leaders, Lao researchers in other ACIAR supported projects were beneficiaries of the training. These 2012 training courses follow support by the Crawford Fund for a biometrics course for Lao researchers in the areas of livestock and fisheries research, conducted in October 2011. Further Crawford Fund support for such training initiatives is planned.

LARF-7 (2012) PROJECT SUBMISSIONS APPROVED FOR FUNDING SUPPORT THROUGH LARF-ACIAR

Project ID
ASEM/2006/060
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
Uniquest, Australia
Project Leader
Dr John Schiller
Email
j.schiller@uq.edu.au
Phone
07 3346 9150
Fax
07 3365 1188
Collaborating Institutions
National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, Laos
Project Budget
$749,560.00
Start Date
01/01/2007
Finish Date
31/12/2009
Extension Start Date
01/01/2010
Extension Finish Date
30/06/2013
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Caroline Lemerle