Agriculture ministry keen to sprout organic exports

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by News Desk

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is focusing on developing clean agriculture to have local produce certified as free of chemicals and pesticides with an eye on organic exports.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Bounkhouang Khambounheuang reported at the Sixth Lao Organic Trade Fair at Chao Fa Ngum Park in Vientiane on Thursday that, “The ministry has been supporting the clean agriculture policy, particularly organic production, while domestic and overseas consumers need more certified safe products.”

“Our country has great potential with the soil, water and environment for the production of clean agriculture and organic products but we are also faced with challenges and obstructions,” he said.

“The nation has to concentrate on improving basic infrastructure, technical equipment and particularly standards of production along with human resource development to improve quality of produce and safety,” he added.

Lao began developing organic agriculture in 2004 and organic production has expanded from the capital to the provinces of Luang Prabang, Xieng Khuang, Oudomxay, Vientiane, Savannakhet, Champassak, and Xayaboury.

To promote local organic trade, the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry held the 6th Lao Organic Trade Fair on Thursday under the theme of “Expanding Organic Exports through Sustainability Standards”.

The event facilitated business meetings with producers, farmers and buyers and showcased organic products.

Organic markets have expanded to many areas in Vientiane to supply the needs of consumers such as at That Luang, Huayhong Market, Vientiane Centre and Chao Fa Ngum Park.

On the same day, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry also organised the 6th Lao Organic Agriculture Forum - “Expanding Organic Exports through Sustainability Standards” which gathered producers, manufacturers, traders, exporters, and other businesses as well as government agencies and international/regional development partners to share experiences on the development of organic trade.

The event was attended by Dr Bounkhuang along with Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr Balasubramaniam Murali, Representative of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Ms Miho Shirotori, officials and farmers.