Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone held a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and relevant businesses in Vientiane Capital on Friday, 15 September, to discuss ways to boost agricultural production in the country.
During the meeting, PM Sonexay called on all businesses to focus on increasing agricultural production, especially of processed goods to increase their demand in local and foreign markets, so as to reduce imports and boost exports.
To achieve this, PM Sonexay suggested farmers grow crops that are already in demand so that they occupy a larger market share. Meanwhile, government officials should help highlight local products while assisting businesses and investors to overcome obstacles in the field of agriculture.
The Lao PM said that the agriculture and forestry ministry should collaborate with related sectors on implementing national policies that encourage ramping up production capacities of crops, livestock, etc. in a practical, and efficient manner.
“The national policy strategy for agricultural production should focus on clean and organic agriculture,” said PM Sonexay. “We should research and determine priorities for the production of goods for export, with a precise allocation of production areas for each product.”
According to the Lao leader, the Agriculture and Forestry ministry should also accelerate discussions on improving plant and animal health and ensure that all businesses and farmers are aware of the safety requirements so that more Lao goods qualify for export.
Alongside this, government sectors were also advised to change the current model of granting concessions for crop cultivation on state land to a leasing system that allows companies to use farmland owned by residents. This would make it easier for local communities to participate in and benefit from agricultural production in the area.
PM Sonexay stressed the importance of prioritizing the processing of agricultural products, as most exports are still unprocessed and raw, “More products should be processed before being sold domestically or exported,” he added.
Additionally, PM Sonexay urged the agriculture and forestry sectors to work with businesses and relevant parties to register all imported and exported products to ensure accurate records and efficient system management.
To reduce imports and increase crop yields, the agriculture and forestry sectors were asked to review the production costs and pricing structure of agricultural goods to identify which items can be produced in larger quantities.
He also called on agriculture-related businesses to urgently address their weaknesses, build capacity, and adapt their business models to changing economic and market conditions.