VIENTIANE, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has advised to minimize importing certain vegetables and other agricultural produce, to help boost the cultivation of these crops in Laos while also tackling inflation.
Farmers in Laos can produce about 6.53 million tons of rice, vegetables and other agricultural produce annually, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Phet Phomphiphak told a meeting of government officials and private sector representatives, held in the Lao capital Vientiane recently, according to a Laopattana report on Tuesday.
This figure comprises 3.72 million tons of rice, 2.31 million tons of vegetables and cash crops, and 507,644 tons of meat, fish and eggs. These quantities enable an average annual per capita consumption of 68.2 kilograms, he said.
Most of the food produced in Laos are sold or consumed by farming families, while some are stored for future use.
However, most farmers still use traditional methods to grow crops and raise livestock and are highly dependent on seasonal weather conditions, meaning that the supply of fresh produce can be erratic.
Farmers are also struggling with the high price of imported agricultural inputs, especially fertilizer and animal feed.
Some traders have resorted to importing these products illegally, which reduces the amount that can be sold by local producers.
High transport fees are another problem for farmers and the rising price of fuel price is also driving up the cost of growing vegetables and other produce, with farmers struggling to meet market demand.
The Lao government is encouraging farmers and producers to supply more goods to the domestic market and to produce more for export, as this will bring in much-needed foreign currency and help reduce high foreign exchange rates.