June 5, 2015
On June 5, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed grant agreements (G/A) with the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Vientiane to provide grant aid of up to a total of 975 million yen for two projects. The signed projects are the Project for Strengthening Research and Development on Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship.
(1) The Project for Strengthening Research and Development on Fisheries and Aquaculture (grant amount: 714 million yen)
This project will provide facilities and equipment for the Namxouang Aquaculture Development Center and the Living Aquatic Resource Research Center in Naxaithong District in Vientiane.
Aquaculture, which relies primarily on freshwater fish, is the main source of animal protein for the people of Laos, as the country is landlocked. Approximately 74 percent of the fish produced in Laos is farmed, but due to an inadequate amount of domestic seed production, Laos depends on imports from neighboring countries for 30 to 40 percent of its seed. Increasing seed production, carrying out seed production of major fish species in Laos, developing relevant technologies including basic research, and transferring skills to aquaculture farmers and others are challenges for Laos. By improving the research and development capacity for freshwater aquaculture and increasing the quantity and number of types of seed produced, it is expected that this project will increase the fish production in Laos and improve the livelihoods of those engaged in the fishing industry.
(2) The Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship (grant amount: 261 million yen)
This project will provide support for up to 20 people to obtain master’s degrees at Japanese universities. This project aims to train younger officials who work on socioeconomic development in Laos, are expected to carry out important roles in the core of government and who will be the core of the future government.
In Laos, public officials working at government ministries and related agencies where development issues are handled lack adequate capacity in the areas of organization, systems and financial affairs. As improving the capacity of officials and developing institutions are of the highest order of importance, it is expected that education in Japanese graduate schools will improve the capacity of government officials. In addition, this scholarship program is expected to lead to a stronger bilateral partnership between Japan and Laos through the building of human networks.