Lao woman awarded for successes in agriculture

Mrs Bouavieng Phetthalanekham, who has been interested in agriculture since she was young, recently won several awards for her perseverance and success in various businesses including her organic farm.
Mrs Bouavieng was born in 1966 and grew up in a farming family in Phonxay village, Xaysettha district, Vientiane. Her family now lives in Tanmixay village, Xaythany district, Vientiane.
Mrs Bouavieng is a Director of Settha Agriculture Sole Co., Ltd., a private firm that invested in a 50-hectare organic farm in Phoukham village, Xaythany district.
She recently received the Outstanding Asean Women Entrepreneur Award 2018 from the Asean Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN).

Mrs Bouavieng gives an interview to Vientiane Times and Lao National Television.

Almost 100 businesswomen were nominated from Asean countries including nine from Laos,  who attended the awards ceremony in Bangkok to honour women’s empowerment in business and to strengthen networks.
The awards called on the 10 Asean member countries to support women entrepreneurs as the key agents in creating opportunities and addressing the many challenges faced by women doing business to make a living, a difference, and to make Asean women globally competitive and successful.
“I feel very glad and honoured that I have been awarded the Outstanding Asean Women Entrepreneur Award 2018 for organic agriculture development,” Mrs Bouavieng said.
“This success could not have been achieved without the cooperation of several sectors and I’m thankful to the AWEN, the Lao Business Women’s Association and other organisations,” she added.
Settha Agriculture Sole Co., Ltd. invested in organic farming when the firm was granted a 50-year land concession by the government to create an organic farm on the outskirts of Vientiane.
“Prior to organic farming, we tried prawn farming but it didn’t work out. So we abandoned prawns and switched to organic farming in 2014,” said Mrs Bouavieng, adding that she was satisfied with the achievements so far.
The farm is called Sethavangso Garden and is being increasingly appreciated by members of the public. It acts as an agricultural learning centre, mainly teaching the skills involved in growing crops organically.
The farm is keen to welcome guests interested in learning about organic farming, especially students who want to learn about agriculture.
Recently, a number of representatives from various organic farms across Laos attended a training session at the farm. They discussed their experiences, mainly in relation to chemical-free farming and other cultivation methods, with experts at the farm.
More than 10 kinds of fruit trees and various kinds of lettuce grown using the hydroponic system have been planted at the farm and some of them will start bearing fruit this year.
Cattle, buffalo and chickens are raised at the farm so that animal waste can be used to make organic fertiliser.
Produce from the farm goes directly to the Settha Fresh Mart on the That Luang esplanade, local restaurants, hotels and mini-markets in Vientiane.
The Sethavangso Garden is well known by the residents of Phoukham village, as the farm is part of its community and supports education for children, as well as providing jobs for women and villagers who lack other job opportunities.
Mrs Bouavieng told Vientiane Times during a visit to the farm recently that the company plans to develop the Sethavangso Garden as a model organic farm and visitor attraction, to bolster visitor numbers and create additional income for local people.
Over the years Mrs Bouavieng has received other awards bestowed by the government, including a Labour Order Class 1 and Development Order Class 1, and several certificates for her contributions to social development.
She has supported local farmers by giving them loans, to encourage more people to grow crops organically and supply their produce to local markets, restaurants and hotels.
The number of farming households growing crops organically has increased from 45 to 192.
Mrs Bouavieng has promoted capacity building among women together with gender equality.
In addition, Mrs Bouavieng is some of individuals and organisations who active in such fields provide assistance to others without thinking of profits.
To appreciate the contributions of people working for national development, the government give aways several awards and certificates.

By Keoviengkhone Bounviseth
(Latest Update June 19, 2018)

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