The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) board of directors approved the grant as part of plans to improve sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacity in the country.
Jacqueline Lam, a trade specialist at ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said the funds will help expand the existing project to cover more provinces in the Lao PDR.
“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.”
The grant 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.
Additional financing, covering 2018 to 2020, will support existing work, expand it to additional provinces and include the nationwide rollout of a food safety management system.
The funds will also back efforts to expand training programs for SPS inspectors in the Lao PDR and improve surveillance and inspection through mobile labs and test kits. Lab facilities in the relevant government agencies will also be upgraded.
Last month, agriculture ministers in the GMS in Asia endorsed a five-year strategy relating to the food safety system.