Twenty people from four villages in Laos’ Houaphan Province were trained in veterinary practices in January this year, marking the first activity in USAID LEAF’s collaboration with its district and provincial counterparts aimed at reducing pressure on local forest resources by strengthening livelihood opportunities through improved livestock management and production systems.
In the initial training held from January 12-16, ten people from the villages of Tinphou and Sobpeng in Xam Tai district participated, which was followed by a similar training from January 19-23 for ten additional people from Naheua and Naman villages in Viengxay district. Mr. Sengphet, a participant from Sobpeng Village, spoke about the challenges of earning additional income to supplement his main livelihood activity of growing paddy rice, which is enough only to feed his family. “The main challenge of my village is the limited land availability for paddy rice expansion, due to the nearby Nam Xam National Protected Area and an increasing local population,” he said. As an alternative, his family also raises livestock, but their animals regularly die from disease. “I wanted to be trained to know how to raise and treat animals, so I can sell them and make money for my family. I am sure this training will help save our livestock.”
After the veterinary training, participants will join a USAID LEAF-supported study tour to learn lessons from other successful livestock programs in Laos. They will then pass on their new knowledge and skills to other members of their communities at larger scale events on animal husbandry techniques organized by USAID LEAF in each of the four target villages.
USAID LEAF’s livestock enhancement activities are part of a larger program of field actions around Nam Xam in recognition of the close link between resource management and livelihood improvement, and its importance in the development of strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry and land use sector. The actions will also include the development of management mechanisms for Nam Xam National Protected Area.