The Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry recently announced that it had started to accelerated the implementation of plans that focus on promoting agricultural production and services to replace imports.
Agriculture production improvement will push forward poverty alleviation, human resource development in agriculture, forestry and rural development with quality to help move the organisations of production forward in the field of internal development.
This is according to discussion on July 16 among authorities in the sector during a ministerial meeting on the ninth five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan.
In particular, the initiative will target modern production methods in the landlocked Southeast Asian country’s agricultural development strategy to help push forward its policy agenda on food security and reducing poverty in rural areas.
So far, the government – and other authorities concerned – have been enacting laws and regulations in agricultural management and forestry, particularly in rural areas, to foster sustainable development.
The ministry aims to further refine its strategic plans with a focus on science and technology, to promote environmentally-friendly agriculture in response to climate change.
In addressing the challenges to farming, authorities are suggesting the use of new technology and modern methods to improve the quality of yields to meet market demand.
Reducing procedures in the production of agricultural goods will also help enterprises boost their output for export.
This year, the ministry outlined its strategy to expand annual production of paddy rice to more than 4.4 million tonnes, coffee up to 160,000 tonnes, sweetcorn to one million tonnes, cassava to 2.28 million tonnes, meat production to 199,210 tonnes, eggs to 43,770 tonnes, and fish to 215,000 tonnes.
The ministry vowed to conduct further research and source funding from home and abroad, and work with various organisations to drive the development of the sector.
Laos’ main export markets are China, Thailand, Vietnam and the EU. The government has predicted that the agriculture sector will have a 3.4 per cent annual growth rate by 2025 so long as there are no more extreme weather events.
In September, the National Economic Research Institute said the sector was expected to grow at a rate of just 0.9-1.7 per cent in 2020, well below the 2.8-to-three per cent target.
One of the most meaningful statistics is that 61.67 per cent of the Lao population worked in agriculture last year, down from 62.42 per cent in 2019, according to the World Bank.
But the sector has grown by only three per cent annually over the past two decades.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK