Vientiane Times, January 21, 2013
The Tham village irrigation development project in Khoun district, Xieng Khuang province, got underway last week after the Korean government had earlier agreed to provide a grant of US$4 million to the Lao government.
The grant agreement was signed in October last year in Xieng Khuang province between the Korean Rural Community Corporation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Assoc. Prof. Dr Khamphad Sourinphoummay, met with experts from the Korean Engineering Consultant Corporation on Friday to consider the project’s design and implementation plan.
The meeting was also attended by the Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to Laos, Ms Gayeon Jung, representatives of relevant government organisations and Xieng Khuang provincial authorities. The irrigation development project will supply water to about 250 hectares of farmland in three villages, Tham, Hoi and Phonxay.
The storage capacity of the dam is about 1.5 million cubic metres. It will be 21m high, 115m long and have a 9.8km irrigation channel.
The project is expected to boost crop yields and increase farmers’ incomes. It aims to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life for local people, while promoting friendship and strengthening agricultural cooperation between Laos and the Republic of Korea.
Other main benefits to come from the new irrigation system will be in crop diversification, an increase to crop intensity, improvements in food self-sufficiency, and improved irrigation management and farming practices. The project will also help to provide capacity building for central and local staff and supply vehicles, motorcycles and office equipment to help with implementation.
“The project will focus on agricultural irrigation systems to promote the planting of organic vegetables for sale, and on integrated rural development,” said Dr Khamphad.
The project will run for four years and two months from 2012-2016 with continuing assistance on techniques and irrigation management from Korean experts.
“This is an important project for basic infrastructure and integrated rural development, especially in Xieng Khuang province,” he said.
“The project will boost cooperation between our two countries, Laos and the Republic of Korea,” said Ms Jung.
“There are also other projects in Xieng Khuang province which are underway as a result of support from the Republic of Korea, such as health and education.” Ms Jung said she hoped that strengthening cooperation between the governments of Laos and the Republic of Korea, especially the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Korean Rural Community Corporation, would lead to a successful implementation of the project and more benefit to the local community.