The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2017 provided an additional $35.6 million grant to the Northern Infrastructure Development Sector Project of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). The grant further enhanced the gains of the original project, which was designed to improve irrigation systems and rural access roads to boost farm yields in the country’s four northern provinces of Bokeo, Louangnamtha, Oudomxay, and Phongsaly. The grant helped pave the way for (i) productivity-enhancing rural infrastructure construction and rehabilitation; (ii) the adoption of productivity- and impact-enhancing initiatives; (iii) the improved capacity of national, provincial, and district agencies to pursue a sector development approach; and (iv) efficient and effective project management.


Agriculture is the main source of income in Louangnamtha province in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).

Although the province is rich in arable land, farmers need irrigation schemes and knowledge to boost their production.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been providing agricultural support for the Lao PDR, including the ADB-financed Northern Rural Infrastructure Development Sector Project with an additional grant for almost $36 million.

The project is helping rural and peri-rural farmers in Louangnamtha province as well as three other provinces to increase their rice and crop production and boost their export and income.

Thongsay Ardphasouk
District Deputy Governor
Namtha district, Louangnamtha province

The project provided an irrigation system to enable farmers to grow crops in both wet and dry seasons with high production. It also supported training on growing techniques and marketing to farmers in the project areas so that they could initiate contract farming with Chinese investors.

Chansamay Ternsamakee
Namchang village, Namtha district, Louangnamtha province

In the past, I engaged in slash and burn cultivation to grow rice, but the production was very low. Last year, I changed to growing rice on paddy lands when the project brought irrigation to my area. As a result, rice production increased significantly. In the dry season, I can even grow soybeans, vegetables, and herbs to sell to local markets.

Chanthachone Sayyasinh
Head of Water User Group and Farmer
Thongpan village, Namtha district, Louangnamtha province

Overall, our farmers’ incomes have increased. Now, we have savings to purchase tractors and harvest machines to replace the buffalo that we used in the past. We also have some savings to seek better health care services and support our children to pursue their education.

The project is also helping farmer beneficiaries in 120 villages to obtain more 7,000 land titles to guarantee them legal rights to their land that they can pass on to their children.

The land titles also can be used as loan collateral to increase capital for expanding their farming.

Sonomi Tanaka
Country Director
Lao People’s Democratic Republic Resident Mission, ADB

This project has a strong focus on rural poverty reduction. It supports not only irrigation infrastructure, but also training of farmers, both men and women farmers in a range of ethnic communities, on commercial agriculture production and marketing. With the project's support, women's land ownership is registered in 60% of households with new land certificates, either jointly with their husbands or as sole owners. This is a significant achievement.