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Published on Jun 19, 2013
Lao is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
The country offers an attractive investment climate. Tax incentives, policies and law reforms have resulted in a rapid expansion in hydropower, mining, construction and agriculture investments.
While economic growth has lifted thousands of people out of poverty, some investments have also come with big environmental and social costs.
The government of Lao is now working to ensure investments comply with national laws and policies to protect the environment and communities; and to ensurecontract negotiationsresult in equal benefits for all parties concerned.
The Poverty-Environment initiative is supporting the government's7th National Social Economic Development Plan that aims to improve the quality of investments.
"A quality investment contributes toreducing poverty, enhance development of human capital, have least impact on the environment, support a diversified economy and provide a fair distribution of benefits to the population".
Six years ago Mrs Inpeng Samuntee converted her timber company into an organic contract farming businesscultivating coffee and vegetables.
Surrounding communities are already benefiting from this win-win initiative.
This example demonstrates the impact thatquality investments can have on human development,environmental conservation and the economy on the whole.
Globally, organic sales have reached $59.1 billion in 2010with experts forecasting a steady annual growthof 9 per cent or higher.
Laos has excellent potential to expand organic production, considering farmers are traditionally accustom to zero chemical production systems, , 75% of the labour force are engaged in agriculture related activities, not to mention the large contribution agriculture makes to GDP.
Domestic and foreign investments should be the driving forcebehindfarmers'adoption ofadvanced technologies, knowledge building ofGood Agricultural Practicesand provide the appropriate linkages to rapidly growing GREEN based markets.