VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Bachieng Chaleunsouk district in the northern portion of southern Laos’ Champasak province is set to have the largest tapioca processing factory in Laos with production capacity of 450 tonnes of tapioca per day.
Champasak borders Cambodia along Choam Ksan and Chheb districts in Preah Vihear province, as well as Thala Barivat and Siem Pang districts and Stung Treng town in Stung Treng province.
An agreement on the construction of the factory was signed via video link on Aug 26 by representatives of Champasak Provincial Administration, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and AIDC Laos Co Ltd.
Present on the occasion were Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Khampheng Xaysompheng, Champasak provincial governor Dr Vilayvong Bouddakham, AIDC Laos chairman Pheutsapha Phoummasack, government officials and other involved parties.
Under the agreement, AIDC Laos will build the factory within two years at a cost of US$70 million to construct and equip the plant. The factory is expected to produce about 450 tonnes of tapioca per day and will purchase the cassava crop grown by farmers in the province.
Pheutsapha said: “It will be the most modern and largest tapioca processing factory in Laos. By processing the cassava sold by local farmers it will add value to the crop which currently fetches a low price in markets. When the factory becomes operational it will create over 500 jobs for Lao people.”
The processing plant is expected to employ at least 500 people when its construction is complete in about two years’ time.
Laos has fertile soil which is suitable for agriculture but limited irrigation reduces crop yields in some areas.
Cassava is grown across the country as it is drought tolerant and sells well in local markets as well as being exported, but the price varies based on the market and amount available for sale.
The processing of cassava into tapioca will add value to the crop as well as provide farmers with a certain market for their harvest.