Effective September 17, investors looking to grow aroma bananas in Vientiane province will no longer be able to obtain the necessary permit for it.
Since 2013, aroma banana farms have dominated more than 400 hectares of land in Hin Heub, Vang Vieng and Feuang districts in Vientiane Province alone, and are primarily invested in by Chinese venture capitalists.
Director of the Vientiane Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department, Phouvong Bounzou, clarified that investors who currently own and operate a banana farm are required to accelerate harvesting their produce and cease growing the fruit by September, or replace the farms with other commercial trees.
Authorities will use strict measures in accordance with Lao law to punish those who are found guilty of violating the new rules.
An estimated 319 hectares of 412 hectares have bananas growing on land owned by local people under concessional agreements between investors and locals, while the rest are under concessional agreements between investors and the government.
Agricultural production plays an important role in food security in the province, as it is a main source of income for local citizens.
However, the new law may be in response to the poisonous pesticides repeatedly found in the country’s soil and water sources, that are widely employed by farm owners to control insect pests, though this has not been confirmed by officials.