Root and tuber crop project funding: May 12: The Standing Committee on the Funding Strategy and Resource Mobilization of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture approved the project titled "Enhancing the capacity of smallholder farmers to improve productivities and value-added of root/tuber crops for commercialization and sustainable development" in LaoPDR. The project focuses on taro, sweet potato, and yam. The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) will administer the project. A funding request of $250,000.00 has been allocated for a period of 36 months. Source
Vietnam donates rice seeds: March 24: The 705 International Cooperation Company, under Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence, donated 10 tonnes of rice seeds worth USD 18,290 to Oudomxay province in Laos to assist farmers. Colonel Luc Van Cuong, the company's deputy director, stated that this donation would strengthen the friendship and solidarity between the two countries. The rice varieties donated have an average yield of 7 tonnes per ha and have been successfully grown in Vietnam. The rice seeds will be allocated to farmers in the locality to use in the 2023 crop season to enhance their productivity. Once the new rice varieties prove to be suitable for the local soil, the province will replicate them for future crops. Source
High-speed Laos-China Railway to expedite exports: January 6: Although Laos in 2021 earned more than US$900 million from agricultural exports -- more than 80 percent of which China buys -- the number was 18 percent off-target, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. The government is keen to boost agriculture, thereby to resolve financial difficulties and reduce import reliance. Fruits and vegetables are priority sales to China. Bananas brought in most -- US$225 million. Rubber exports fetched US$214 million; cassava US$196 million; sugarcane US$25 million; and watermelons US$26 million. The foregoing are also Laos' biggest agricultural exports to China. A major disappointment in 2021 involved animal sales, which fell short of quotas owing to lumpy skin disease -- now cleared up, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health. Laos is talking with China about animal and plant health regulations, and expects that, with those issues sorted out and pandemic restrictions eased, construction of the Laos-China railway will clear the way for export growth. Sources: Phnom Penh Post and Xinhua. See also related news on January 20 about the first 1,000 tonne shipment of Thai rice delivered using the Laos-China railway, published by the Bangkok Post.