Banana Farms Ordered to Stop
Oudomxay province: — Chinese farms in Laos’ provinces have been suspended due to their ongoing use of hazardous chemicals which are having negative impacts on people’s health and the environment.
The Prime Minister’s Office’s ordered the farms which are preparing to cultivate banana trees to cease their efforts while thousands of hectares of banana plantations which have already planted the trees will not be allowed to plant any more suckers after harvesting their crops.
Director of the Oudomxay provincial Planting and Investment Department, Mr Onkeo Ounralom, told the press on Friday that banana farms in the country’s provinces have been found to be using hazardous chemicals after checks by state and international agencies.
Mr Onkeo said it’s regrettable that the reports did not mention which provinces in the country used the chemicals, only stating that banana plantations in the north of the country were at fault.
“We will halt the banana plantations but we don’t want to lose these Chinese investors from the country; in Oudomxay we will plant other clean crops instead,” he said.
The northern provinces of Bokeo, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Phongsaly mainly grow bananas for export to China.
Mr Onkeo added that there are about 6,000 hactares of banana trees from 23 companies in Oudomxay.
It’s not only northern Laos which has Chinese banana farms, but also hundred of hectares in Vientiane province and the capital.
An official from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mr Phoukham Louangsouphon, said that the Prime Minister’s Office has ordered a halt to all commercial banana plantations.
Oudomxay and Luang Namtha provinces are the major centres for banana plantations in the country, he said.
According to a National Assembly report in October, some provinces were using too many insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilisers, but said this matter did not feature in reports submitted to the Assembly.
Some people became ill and some had allegedly died after spraying pesticides on farms, but the reports did not say where this had occurred.
There have been no bananas from Chinese farms in the provinces for sale in local markets as the farms send all their fruit straight to China. These bananas are packed in cardboard boxes for immediate export to China after they are harvested.
Source: Vientiane Times