Meet Songkao and his wife Nee who are from the Khamu Ethnic group living in Beng District, Oudomxay, North Laos.

Their income comes from maize and rice that they grow. However, the sale of their produce relies on middle-men who dominate access to the market in China. As Songkao and Nee do not have the money to buy their own seeds, these middle-men provide a ‘seed loan’ at the start of the season with the premise that Songkao and Nee must sell their produce back to them.

The interest charged on these loans can be as high as 50% meaning they are left with very little money to live on. This creates a cycle from which it is hard to break free.

The Power of Partnership

Songkao is a member of a farmer’s group. With support from Cord they have elected group leaders and formulated a strategic plan for the functioning of the group. By doing so, farmers have been able to work together to buy seeds and other inputs making them less reliant on middle-men. As a result, they have been able to raise more income from harvest.

Moving forward, the group look to create marketing plans to improve their bargaining power and raise their income further.

“The Village as a whole has gained from this”

Songkao and the other members of the Farmer’s Group are so grateful for Cord’s support. Not only has the partnership raised the income of those involved, Songkao tells us it has “strengthened relationships in the village, we trust each other and back each other when there are problems”.

It is only possible to support projects like this thanks to the generous donations and kind prayers of our supporters. If you are able to support us today, we truly thank you.

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