This policy brief resulted from an outline agreed during discussions at a SIANI supported national “write-shop” with experts from the Laos Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Laos Ministry of Education (MoE), scholars and civil society organizations working on sustainable agriculture development, which took place at the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) in Vientiane on 4 August 2015. The SIANI Expert Group on Higher Education for Sustainable Agriculture (HESA) in Southeast Asia developed the policy brief as part of its main national project in Laos in 2015. It also draws on lessons learned from experts from across Laos, Thailand and the Philippines who attended the regional SIANI- HESA workshop held at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, on 18–19 August 2015.
Sustainable agriculture is defined for the purposes of this brief as agricultural practice that meets the needs of farming communities to achieve food security and poverty reduction without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. It includes traditional agriculture, organic agriculture, and integrated agriculture and agro-forestry. Currently, the curricula for all these approaches need to be updated to better meet the challenges facing Laos. Updated curricula could be piloted in projects for specific target groups, such as vocational college students. They could then be applied more widely in order to better sustain and balance the needs of the economy, society and the environment.
Authors: Khamphou Phouyyavong and Amphaivanh Souksanty representing the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and Pakxueng Agriculture College, Luang Prabang.
Editors: Wayne Nelles, SIANI Expert Group on Higher Education for Sustainable Agriculture (HESA) in Southeast Asia; Matthew Fielding, Project Manager and Rajesh Daniel, Communications Coordinator, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Asia.