Click here for Lao version / ຄລິກຢູ່ບ່ອນນີ້ ເພື່ອອ່ານພາສາລາວ
Laos' Prime Minister admits that his country may not
be able to meet the rice production target for the current fiscal year as
planned because of unfavorable weathers and challenging macro-economic
situations facing his government.
Lao government officials have planned and set a
target to employ all available measures to encourage farmers to increase
outputs from their 2009-10 rainy and dried seasons' crops at least 3.3 million
tons, up 400 thousand tons from 2008-09, so that the country would have not
only enough rice for domestic consumption but also a surplus of more than 800
thousand tons for export.
One of the measures that the government will employ
to assist its farmers is to seek new technology to boost per acre yields. To this end, the government has recently
approved a budget of 170 billion kips, approximately USD 20 million, with 40
billion kips going to support farmers in five northern provinces and the rest
to support farmers in 3 southern provinces.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture's August
report, farmers across Laos have completed their rice cultivation on over
644,000 hectares of land during this raining season, which is more than 1% over
target. However, since the country does not have enough irrigation systems and
whatever it has is able to supply water to only 20% of the farmlands, combined
with the annual threats of flooding and drought, Lao officials cannot predict
that their country will be able to reach the rice production target as planned.
Moreover, if the country is hit by the above
mentioned natural disasters, it will inevitably
send ripple effects to Laos'economy at the macro level, admitted Prime Minister
Currently, many parts of Laos are already facing serious
floodinng, particularly the areas along the Sebangfai river located downstream
of Nam Theun II hydropower dam in Yommalat, Mahaxay and Nongbok districts, as
well as Xaybouly in Savannakhet province, where over 7,000 hectares of land are
under water. Last year's floods inundated more than 128,000 hectares of
farmland, completely destroying crops in more than 36,000 hectares as well as
irrigation canals, roads and bridges. The Lao government was forced to spend
over 838 billion kips or almost USD 100 million on repairs throughout the year.