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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Skyrocketing Vegetable Prices Highlight Cost of Living Crisis in Laos

This Week

A social media post about the rising prices of basic vegetables in Laos went viral on Monday, calling attention to a real cost of living surge in Laos. The post listed the prices of five common vegetables, all of whose prices skyrocketed in recent weeks.

“A kilo of green onion costs LAK 150,000; a kilo of mint costs LAK 75,000; a kilo of sweet basil costs LAK 70,000; a kilo of coriander costs LAK 40,000; and a kilo of morning glory costs LAK 50,000,” the post states adding, “A million kip can only afford a few things.”

The post quickly drew hundreds of comments from users, expressing shock and dismay at the high prices. Many people said they were struggling to afford buying vegetables, which are an essential and otherwise inexpensive source of food in Laos. Some users also called on the government to do more to regulate the market and control prices.

The price rise is being attributed to several factors, including drought, flooding, depreciation of the Lao kip, and the rising cost of fuel. Drought has affected vegetable production in many parts of Laos, while flooding has damaged crops in others. The rising cost of fuel has also made it more expensive to transport vegetables to markets.

Additionally, the depreciation of the Lao kip has made it more expensive to import goods, especially fertilizers, which are essential for growing vegetables. This rise in production costs in the agriculture sector has led to a sharp increase in the cost of vegetables.

“Farmers know this all too well: fertilizers and pesticides used for growing crops are expensive, and it’s even more difficult to grow vegetables during this season,” a social media user commented on the post.

The rising cost of vegetables is just one example of the rising cost of living in Laos. In recent months, the prices of other essential goods and services, such as fuel, food, and housing, have also been on the rise.

“A salary of LAK 1.5 million will not get you too far,” a Facebook user commented. “It might be enough for two meals at a good restaurant, a pack of eggs, some rice, and one bag of coal for cooking, but forget about drinking coffee or milk on that salary.”

Laos has seen ten consecutive fuel price hikes since June, according to the Lao State Fuel Company. This has put a strain on household budgets and made it difficult for many people in the country to make ends meet.

The government has acknowledged the problem of rising prices for essential goods and said that it is working to address it. However, it is unclear how effective these measures will be until they are implemented. In the meantime, the Laotian people are finding it really challenging to make ends meet, and often having to compromise on other necessities such as education and healthcare.

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