PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is strengthening agricultural production to meet the increasing demand for fresh produce in Laos and for export to China.
The aim is to make crop production more efficient and capitalise on the opportunities offered by the Laos-China railway after it comes into service in December.
The ministry recently issued a notice stressing the need to urgently fulfil the national agenda and the resolutions on the five-year agricultural, forestry and rural development plan for 2021-2025.
According to the notice, the ministry will review agricultural centres and stations under its responsibility and improve their operations to ensure greater efficiency through strong technical support and the provision of essential materials and technology.
Agricultural stations will be improved with respect to research in plant varieties, animal breeds, tree species and training.
In addition, farmers, entrepreneurs and the general public will be taught about crop growing methods that boost yields while not needing large quantities of water.
Crops intended for export should be grown in line with local agricultural conditions, while sufficient personnel should be provided to bolster the potential of each hub, station, department and institution under the Ministry.
Personnel at agricultural stations will be relocated. At the local level, people will be recruited from departments in the provinces and the Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Vientiane.
District Agriculture and Forestry Offices will assist local, provincial and central stations to meet the requirements of the national agenda as well as leading agricultural centres and local stations.
Plans will be made for managers and senior staff to train their successors so that those employees can be trained and tested on work at local production bases. This will strengthen agricultural centres and stations so that more crops can be grown for local consumption and for export.
The ministry’s notice aims to bolster the export of agricultural produce, improve crop production and quality, and enable market negotiations.
In a bid to increase exports, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and business operators to actively work with China to draw up lists of agricultural products for sale to that country, as well as specify the necessary sanitary and phytosanitary procedures.
When the Laos-China railway becomes operational in December, it will be the main link between the two countries. Fast transport is expected to improve trade links and support Laos’ strategy to benefit from its landlocked status by becoming a land link.