Wednesday 24 April 2024
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Japan’s boost for coffee and nutrition in Lao

The project's aim is to enhance the coffee quality and production capacities, thus opening avenues to export to the Japanese market. It will also incorporate nutritional education into to the coffee value chain, creating a model that can be replicated combining agricultural development with health improvements

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LUANG PRABANG, Laos — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with the Government of Japan today launched a project aimed at empowering coffee farmers in two districts of Lao PDR’s Luang Prabang Province. This initiative will bolster their coffee production and marketing efforts, while also improving access to and understanding of essential nutrition.

Funded by the Government of Japan with a generous contribution of approximately USD 1 million, the Cocreation of Food Security for Farmers with Economic Empowerment with Japan (COFFEE-JAPAN) project will be undertaken in collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, WFP, Saka no Tochu, a Japanese private company active in Laos, and Saffron Coffee, a Lao fair-trade coffee company. The project will benefit 300 smallholder coffee producers and their families across eight villages in Luang Prabang over two and a half years.

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The project’s aim is to enhance the coffee quality and production capacities, thus opening avenues to export to the Japanese market. It will also incorporate nutritional education into to the coffee value chain, creating a model that can be replicated combining agricultural development with health improvements.

“Over several decades, Japan has been continuously supporting the development of the agriculture and forestry sectors in Laos, including the partnership with WFP. Taking the great opportunities of the 50th year of Japan-ASEAN Friendship and Cooperation last year, Lao PDR’s ASEAN chairmanship this year, and the upcoming celebration of 70 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Laos next year, we are delighted to support this initiative, hoping to contribute to stabilizing and improving rural incomes, while ensuring food security and improving nutrition,” said Kenichi Kobayashi, Ambassador of Japan to Lao PDR

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“Coffee, as a cash crop, has a high potential to create economic opportunities for people. However, there is a dearth in high-quality internationally marketable coffee, as farmers in northern areas of the country have limited skills to cultivate it for the demands of international markets. We are thankful for support from Japan and the collaboration between a broad range of actors to create more income for coffee farmers, while ensuring they learn about nutrition and have access to healthy food,” said Siriphone Souphanthong, Vice-Governor of Luang Prabang Province.

“At Saka no Tochu, we believe that in the production of coffee, numerous social issues exist, and addressing them rather than turning away is crucial for the future of a 21st-century business. We aim to provide training and infrastructure to farmers, which will benefit their whole village, with the ultimate goal of a better life for all in the community. Through our activities, we plan to increase the volume of coffee that will be available for export, to target specifically the market of small and medium roasters in Japan,” said Mr. Kunihiko Ono, Founder and CEO of Saka no Tochu.

“At WFP, we’re focused on ensuring families have access to a diverse and nutritious diet. Nutrition education will create awareness in the communities about the needs at different stages in life, while the increased income from coffee production will allow farmers buy the food they don’t already produce. COFFEE-JAPAN is a pioneering example of how public-private partnerships can holistically empower communities by combining export-grade coffee production, capacity building and nutrition awareness to drive positive change,” said Marc-André Prost, WFP Representative and Country Director.

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

SourceWFP
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