The Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has urged Lao people to begin growing crops and raising animals at home for their own consumption in case food supplies should run out amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The PM’s remarks, quoted by Lao National Radio, echoed his comments on March 16 that Lao people should prepare for an unpredictable scenario as the number of virus cases continues to grow in neighboring countries.
He added that Lao people had “well-established traditions” in agriculture, and this would absorb the impact of international trade disruption if eventuated.
His comment comes amid concerns that the disruption of international trade would cause domestic shortages of consumer goods, particularly food, as most products are imported from neighboring countries where lockdown could become a reality.
In Thailand, for instance, tourism operators are urging the state to impose a two-week lockdown to keep the coronavirus from spreading to provincial areas.
The Thai Federation of Provincial Tourist Associations is to propose closing both land and air connections for two weeks or up to one month, as an urgent measure to tackle the outbreak, Bangkok Post reported.
Dr. Phouphet Kyophilavong, a professor at the National University of Laos, dismissed such concerns, saying Lao consumers will not face serious food shortages.
He added that rural communities in Laos had a long tradition of self-sufficient farming practices, which means the impact of trade disruption in the country would not be as severe as in many other countries where people have engaged in panic buying.