A surge in production has seen Laos increase the export value of bananas by 76 percent.
The export value of bananas to neighboring countries, mainly China and Thailand, increased to about USD 198 million in 2019 from USD 112 million in 2018, Xinhua News Agency reported, quoting figures from the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
This makes bananas the top earner among other agricultural exports including cassava, raw coffee, rubber, maize, and rice.
Such increase came as various plantations operating under the contract farming system became ready for harvesting, Xinhua explained.
A total of 117 companies invested in banana plantations covering 26,177 hectares across the country between 2016 and 2017, although this subsequently dropped to 90 companies and 20,408 hectares after the government temporarily ordered a halt to all commercial banana plantations.
In 2018, China suddenly slapped inspection measures upon banana exports from Laos, hindering what was a booming trade, and marking the first time export standards were initiated between the two countries.
However, the industry was quickly overhauled, regaining its title as a boom crop for Laos.
Lao authorities see bananas as a top agriculture export earner with opportunities to create jobs and generate income for local people for rising above poverty.