- Japan-backed project to strengthen clean agriculture

A clean agricultural development project has been launched to strengthen the supply of clean farm   produce including organic fruit and vegetables and boost good cultivation practices, based on domestic market needs. The project, under grant assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is being implemented over five years from 2018-2022. Officials from the Agriculture Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and JICA met yesterday in Vientiane to officially launch the project. The project will first be carried out in Vientiane, before being rolled out in target provinces including Khammuan, Luang Prabang, and Xayaboury, according to the Agriculture Department. Project activities include a baseline survey in Vientiane as well as site surveys in candidate provinces and the promotion of farmers’ understanding of the market and strengthening farmer groups such as conducting business management training. During the project, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and JICA will jointly and regularly supervise the progress of the project through monitoring sheets based on the project design matrix and plans of operation. JICA will provide machinery, equipment and other materials within its budgetary limitations. The Agriculture Department has planned activities for the development of clean agriculture, organic agriculture and good production practices across the nation, according to an official report. The department not only plans to expand clean agricultural production, officials also intend to develop a marketing-based analysis of domestic and overseas demand levels while seeking to ensure quantity and quality standards, and price. Other initiatives include setting up buyer groups to create convenient access for farmers to deliver their products including rice, coffee, tea, vegetables and other crops to local restaurants, hotels and mini-markets, according to the Agriculture Department. In addition, the department will seek to enlarge permanent marketplaces to sell organic produce in target provinces and set up a guarantee system to manage production and price. The total land area under cultivation in Vientiane is 89,000 hectares with 1,700 hectares dedicated to organic agriculture. There are now 38 clean agriculture producer groups, growing vegetables and rice. The Vientiane organic agriculture group has several distribution venues, including That Luang village in Xaysettha district, Fa Ngum Park in Sikhottabong district, and Huayhong Market in Chanthabouly district.
By Vientiane Times Reporters
Lastest 14 March 2018

- Ministry to bolster trademark protection

All commodities produced in Laos will have a trademark under the Madrid Protocol, to create econom mic opportunities and help raise the standard of trade in the country. The Madrid system (officially the Madrid system for the international registration of marks) is the primary international system for facilitating the registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions around the world. Laos will be the fifth Asean country to use this system. Director General of the Department of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Khanlasy Keobounphanh, yesterday addressed the topic at a workshop on international trademark registration under the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol system provides for the international registration of trademarks by way of one application that can cover more than one country. This provides a mechanism for obtaining trademark protection in many countries around the world, which is more effective than seeking protection separately in each individual country. Dr Khanlasy said the main objectives of the workshop were to increase awareness of the need for trademark registration and protection and related trademarks. Discussions would also promote better understanding of the role of the trademark in enhancing cultural and economic development and encouraging creativity. The owners of all businesses including SMEs in Laos will benefit from the Madrid system because it will protect their trademark and brand, she said. The system provides an opportunity to have a single registration to cover a wide range of countries, which is advantageous both in terms of portfolio management and cost savings, as opposed to a portfolio of independent national registrations. President of the Lao PDR-US international and Asean integration project (USAID-LUNAII), Mr Daniel Fitzpatrick, said the USAID- LUNAII is funded by the United States government to promote trade and investment in Laos. The goal of this work is to create economic opportunities and help raise the living standards of the Lao people. He said that in line with these efforts, the workshop would help Lao exporters to better understand the benefits of the Madrid system, which promotes brand identity. Trademark law allows companies to protect brands, by prohibiting other companies from copying their brands or otherwise taking actions that trick consumers, Mr Fitzpatrick said. Madrid is the legal base of the multilateral treaty, the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks of 1891, as well as the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement (1989).
By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
Lastest 14 March 2018
 

- Bureaucracy, abuse of power top public concerns in Savannakhet

Time-consuming bureaucracy and the abuse of power are weighing heavily on the minds of people in S Savannakhet province, while the provincial Party Committee has limited ability to resolve these issues. Persistent misconduct on the part of officials was a main topic of discussion at the province’s recent annual inspection meeting, which was presided over by the province’s Party Committee Secretary and Governor, Mr Santiphab Phomvihane. The governor highlighted the achievements made by inspectors over the past year, while also noting deficiencies in their work, saying these related directly to the Party Committee, authorities and inspectors at every level. “Bureaucracy, abuse of power, and violation of the law by officials for personal gain, and other forms of corruption, are the issues that most concern the public,” Mr Santiphab said. “Misconduct has been spreading among officials and Party members for many years,” he added. He reminded those present that misconduct and corruption were dangerous challenges to the role, influence, and leadership of the Party. Party committees and inspectors at every level must act more responsibly in line with their assigned duties, he said.
By Vientiane Times Reporters
Lastest 14 March 2018