The government of Laos is urging private companies to invest in the manufacturing of fertilizer and animal feed in response to global supply chain problems.
The policy serves to strengthen the government’s attempts to limit imports and strengthen domestic production.
Farmers in Laos require approximately 2 million tonnes of fertilizer annually, but the country can only produce 600,000 tonnes of organic fertilizers or 30 percent of the required amount, according to Vientiane Times.
“Our ministry will encourage Lao and Vietnamese companies to team up in a joint venture to manufacture fertilizer,” Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Phet Phomphiphak was quoted as saying at a recent National Assembly session.
“We have invited a major fertilizer manufacturer from Vietnam to come to Laos next month, to meet with Lao business operators and discuss a possible partnership.”
Dr. Phet stated that he was unable to confirm whether more companies would be able to generate enough fertilizer to meet the needs of farmers when asked if the issue could be resolved by 2030.
“I’m sure that the amount of fertilizer produced in Laos will increase significantly by next year, but I don’t think we can produce sufficient to meet the total need,” he said.
Meanwhile, farmers across Laos require some 600,000 tonnes of animal feed, but the six production factories in the country produce fewer than 400,000 tonnes.
Currently, locally manufactured animal feed is mostly used by farms and agricultural projects, with just a small quantity available at local markets.
“A number of businesses in Laos have expressed interest in setting up factories to produce animal feed for use in Laos,” Dr. Phet said.
Farmers have been severely impacted by the high cost of livestock feed imported from Thailand in addition to the rising cost of fuel and the depreciation of the Lao kip.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the cost of feed for piglets increased by 29 percent, the cost of feed for chicks increased by eight percent, and the cost of feed for fish soared by 60 percent.
In a recent interview, outgoing Israeli Ambassador to Laos and Vietnam, Mr. Nadav Eshcar, suggested that strengthened relations between Laos and Israel could mean more agricultural assistance for Laos.
“I strongly believe that Israeli technologies could be used for the benefit of Laos. They can make agricultural work in Laos more successful.”
He noted that his country is a leading producer of fertilizers and would be willing to give a helping hand to Laos if need be.