MMG LXML Sepon, through the Village Development Fund donated US$8,000 towards the Mandarin Project’s initial construction of the Gravity Fed Water System for Nahoy Village, Vilabouly District, Savannakhet Province.
The Australian Government through the Australian Embassy in Vientiane, Lao PDR - Direct Aid Program provided an additional US$18,125 to the second stage of the Mandarin Project.
“I’m delighted to have the chance to formally hand over this irrigation system project, for the benefit of citrus farmers and the people of Nahoy Village,” said Mr John Williams, Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR.
“Australia is delighted to be able to help the people of Ban Nahoy achieve their aspirations for themselves, and for future generations,” Mr John added
“In line with our commitment to ‘Mine for Progress’, MMG’s social development approach includes a clear focus on high value agriculture programs to secure sustainable income,” said Mr Viboon Sithimolada,Corporate and Community Affairs, MMG LXML Sepon.
“The high value agriculture program is in partnership with NGOs and international food companies to build supply chains in low income communities and create more local employment opportunities,” Mr Viboon added.
The Mandarin Project is a partnership between MMG-LXML Sepon and Ironbark Citrus of Australia. While MMG LXML Sepon provided the funds to import 960 citrus seedlings for the first 12 farmers to trial the project in July 2015, Ironbark Citrus is developing management structures that will provide training, tools, seeds and distribution channels for local citrus farmers.
“This triangle partnership helps farmers transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture and engage in economic opportunity,” said Xaysavath Xayalath, Manager Ironbark Citrus Lao Company.
“Ironbark Citrus is looking for further partnership to enhance the productivity and expand economic opportunity so that local communities can generate better incomes.” Mr Xaysavath added
To date, there are 12,275 citrus trees planted on 33 families’ farmlands. More families and members from surrounding villages have also expressed an interest to participate in the project. Approximately, 20,000 rootstocks will be prepared for planting in 2018.
Through this partnership program, it will enhance the practical aspects of MMG’s Social Development Program and align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition as well as promoting sustainable agriculture. The program creates an opportunity to secure higher farm incomes for local communities.
Photo: The handover ceremony witnessed by (from left to right) Mr Xaysavath Xayalath - Manager Ironbark Citrus Lao, Mr Inpone Thephetlusy - MMG LXML Sepon’s Superintendent Community Relations, Mr Somneuk Xaysomkham - Nahoy Village Chief, Mr Viboon Sithimolada - MMG LXML Sepon’s Corporate and Community Affairs Manager, Mr John William - Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR, Mr Mountha Sayalith - Deputy Vilabouly District Governor and Ms Susan Jenkin - CEO Ironbark Citrus Australia.