The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a $10 million grant to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) as additional financing to scale up efforts to improve food safety and ensure plant and animal health, as part of an initiative to improve sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacity in the country.
The additional financing is part of the SPS Handling in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Trade Project by ADB in June 2012. The project was designed to strengthen institutional support and develop capacity for SPS handling in Cambodia and the Lao PDR through improved surveillance and monitoring for plant health, animal health, and food safety, while providing further education and training for SPS specialists and enhancing regional cooperation, according to ADB.
“Ensuring that key production and safety standards for goods, especially livestock and agriculture products, in the Lao PDR are met is important to the country’s economic development,” said Jacqueline Lam, a Trade Specialist at ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “The additional funds will help expand the scope of the existing project to cover more provinces in the Lao PDR.”
The project’s additional financing, covering the period from 2018 to 2020, will provide continuing support to existing operations, as well as in additional provinces, on top of the nationwide rollout of a food safety management system. The additional funds will also support the efforts to expand training programs for SPS inspectors in the Lao PDR and improve surveillance and inspection through provision of mobile laboratories and test kits. Laboratory facilities in the relevant government agencies will also be upgraded.