About 1.8 million of the 6.4 million people in Lao PDR live in poverty. A large number of them are upland farmers, who belong to ethnic groups and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. The agriculture sector is undergoing a period of unprecedented transformation from semi-subsistence farming to commercialized farming. However, the private sector’s investment in production and processing of agricultural products is still limited. The lagging market creates underdeveloped value chains beyond the farm level, and the Lao economy is hampered. The SADU project sought to reverse this trend by fostering the smallholder farmers’ integration with the market.
The overall development goal of the project was to improve the livelihoods of marginalized smallholder farmers in the Northern Uplands of Lao PDR, through strengthening market chain efficiency. In order to achieve this objective, the project worked through three interlinked components: