Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

Agriculture ministry to pursue three focal targets

Vientiane Times, February 2, 2016

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has announced it will pursue three focal targets set to ensure food security, greater commercial production and sustainable forestry management. In its five-year plan provided recently, the ministry revealed the first target is to secure food production with sufficient nutrition. In this regard, the ministry will pursue the annual production of 2.5 million tonnes of paddy rice via government-introduced food security projects. Of which, between 200,000 and 400,000 tonnes will be stockpiled as national reserve.

Another target is for the production of the five food groups to reach an average of 2,600 kilocalories per person per day. In addition, the ministry has announced, as identified in the second target, to produce more commodities with better quality on a commercial basis with focus on producing clean and organic farm products. The ministry said organic farm produce were in high demand in markets of other Asean member countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Foodstuffs production has increased in recent years paving the way to attain the set target, thanks to incentive policies and regulations introduced to facilitate production. Nationwide production of rice increased from just 3.06 million tonnes in 2011 to 4.2 million tonnes in 2015, which enabled Laos to export some surplus. Production of other foodstuffs increased from 1.23 million tonnes in 2011 to 1.41 million tonnes in 2015.
Domestic average annual production and supply of meats, chickens and eggs increased from 48 kilograms per person in 2011 to 55 kilograms per person in 2015 meeting the targeted plan.
As a result, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations certified in 2015 that Laos had achieved millennium development goal I (MDG 1) on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. Zoning projects have been established to promote clean and organic production of crops such as coffee, cassava, jobs tear, bananas, rice, and watermelons among others. Notably, Laos has started to export rice to China and is expected to increase these exports to 8,000 tonnes in the immediate future generating income of US$6 million (more than 48.4 billion kip). Livestock farms have increased in number, highlighted by a Japanese investor’s large and modern farm in XiengKhuang province to rear thousands of head of cattle. In a move to ensure sustainable management of forests, a survey has been completed to facilitate the allocation of 51 production forest areas. Allocation of production forest will assist logging plans. The ministry said it would continue to complete the allocation of production forest areas and village forest areas across the country to facilitate sustainable forestry management.
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