IFAD Asset Request Portlet


Lao People's Democratic Republic


Projects Includes planned, ongoing and closed projects

US$ 509.07 million

Total Project Cost

US$ 164.81 million

Total IFAD financing


Households impacted

The Context

Over the past decade, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has experienced rapid economic growth and poverty reduction. Although the national poverty rate declined steadily, by 40 per cent over the last 15 years, 26 per cent of the population still lives below the poverty line. 

More than three quarters of the Lao people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and natural resources for survival. Poverty is largely rural,  concentrated especially in remote and mountainous areas adjacent to the north-eastern and eastern borders with Viet Nam.

Agriculture and natural resources accounted for 24.8 per cent of GDP and over 70 per cent of employment as of 2014. More than 80 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, while more than half of households are subsistence farmers with annual incomes below US$300.

While agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, farming is largely practised at the subsistence level, and access to improved technologies and markets is generally poor. Farmers, especially from large families, struggle to meet their household’s food requirements. Most use traditional farming methods and lack knowledge of new technologies and skills to improve yields. Also affecting productivity are declining soil fertility and lack of access to irrigation.

The country’s geography provides an opportunity to develop products and raw material that can tap into high-value markets in neighbouring countries. Lao People’s Democratic Republic sees itself as a ‘land bridge’, providing the most direct overland transport routes between its seaboard neighbours. This requires improving and developing infrastructure to facilitate connections between rural areas and urban markets.

The Strategy

IFAD began operations in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1980. 

Our strategy is to ensure that poor rural people have increased opportunities for sustainable food and nutrition security and livelihoods. Together with government agencies and development partners, IFAD has identified areas where it has a comparative advantage and complements other donors’ activities.

The IFAD country strategic opportunities programme has three main objectives, focused on improving:

  • community-based access to and management of land and natural resources;
  • access to advisory services and inputs for sustainable, adaptive and integrated farming systems;
  • access to markets for selected products.

The following cross-cutting issues are common to all three objectives:

  • building capacities of government, beneficiaries and service providers;
  • engaging with women as key partners in all production and marketing systems;
  • constructing infrastructure needed by farmers, such as small-scale village irrigation, or for market access, such as farm-to-market roads;
  • forming farmer and producer common-interest groups;
  • building resilience to climate-related risks and improving capacity to adapt to climate change.

Country Facts

An estimated 61 per cent of the population in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic lives in rural areas and the majority depend on agriculture and natural resources for survival. 

Since 1980, IFAD has invested US$122.4 million to finance 14 projects and programmes related to agricultural development, benefiting 272,875 households.

Country documents

Related Assets

Lao People's Democratic Republic: Country strategic opportunities programme (2018-2024) Type: Regional and country document, Country Strategic Opportunities Programme
Region: Asia and the Pacific

Country Experts

Projects and Programmes

Projects Browser

PLANNED Under design after concept note approval

APPROVED Approved by the Executive Board or IFAD President

SIGNED Financing agreements signed

ONGOING Under implementation

CLOSED Completed/closed projects

No matching projects were found
No matching projects were found
No matching projects were found

Related news

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New IFAD - and GAFSP - funded project to scale up successful approaches to increasing food and nutrition security and increase small-scale farmers’ incomes in Lao PDR

February 2023 - NEWS
IFAD and the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic today signed an agreement for a nutrition-sensitive agriculture project to address food insecurity and malnutrition among the rural poor. The project will especially focus on vulnerable groups such as women, young people and people with disabilities.

UN rural development agency IFAD and Government of Lao PDR commit to improving nutrition in rural areas

February 2023 - NEWS
On a four-day visit to the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Jyotsna Puri, Associate Vice-President of the Strategy and Knowledge Department at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Reehana Raza, IFAD’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, met Phet Phomphiphak, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

UN food agencies to visit Lao PDR to support efforts to boost nutrition

May 2019 - NEWS
The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), with a representative from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will visit the Lao People's Democratic Republic from 14-16 May 2019 to raise greater awareness about the importance of integrated food systems to improve food and nutrition security, and to see first-hand the agencies’ collaborative programmes in action.

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Agriculture is the main source of income and livelihood in rural Lao. But Lao crops are highly climate-sensitive, leaving farmers with little room for error when it comes to climate adaptation.

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March 2016 - STORY
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