Laos earned over US$900 million from the export of agricultural products in 2021, according to a recent government report.
Bananas made up the biggest of the bunch, with US$225.33 million worth of bananas from Laos exported to China in 2021.
Rubber exports reached US$214.37 million, cassava was worth US$196.58 million, sugarcane US$25.43 million, and watermelon worth US$26.33 million.
A surge in production saw Laos increase the export value of bananas by 76 per cent in 2019, while in 2020, Laotian banana exports to China and Thailand reached a record-breaking US$227.4 million.
While bananas and watermelon were previously the only fruits able to be shipped directly to China from Laos, new bilateral agreements with China now include passion fruit and citrus fruits from Laos as well.
Laos to export citrus fruit to China
Laos plans to export its first shipment of over fifty thousand tons of citrus fruits to China early this year in a deal with US$50 million.
The export citrus fruits are grown in Laos and include oranges, pomelo, and lemons.
Some 3,600 hectares of land in nine provinces across the country, namely Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Xayaboury, Luang Prabang, Vientiane Province, Bolikhamxay, Savannakhet, Champasack, and Attapeu, are dedicated to the cultivation of citrus fruits, with 70 percent of crops produced solely for export.
Lao citrus fruits now meet the relevant requirements are allowed as imports, according to Chinese laws and regulations and the “Protocol of the General Administration of Customs of China and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Laos on the Phytosanitary Requirements for Lao Citrus Fruit Exported to China.”
According to reports, Laos’ Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is compiling market opening paperwork for fruits such as durian, longan, dragon fruit, and jackfruit with Chinese Customs.
These fruits are likely to be approved for sale to China soon.