Laos, Chinese firm cooperating in clean agriculture

VIENTIANE, Jan. 15 — Lao government is cooperating with a Chinese firm on a clean agriculture development project aimed to expand trade opportunities between the two countries, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.

Under a cooperation agreement, Meixiang Agriculture Development Co; Ltd from China’s Heilongjiang province will provide 90 million yuan (around 13 million U.S. dollars) to support the project over nine years.

Lao Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture under Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Bounchanh Kombounyasith revealed the details on last Friday at a ground breaking ceremony for construction of fruit and vegetable greenhouses.

The ceremony was attended by Lao Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Phouangparisak Pravongviengkham, agriculture officials and the company’s representatives.

Bounchanh explained the project will carry out fruit and vegetable production through clean agriculture in capital Vientiane as well as the provinces along the Laos-China railway line.

The project will also strengthen and update the knowledge and skills of technical staff and farmers, especially on techniques for green agriculture and the building of modern greenhouses to enable the export of produce to China, local daily quoted Bounchanh as saying.

Initially, the project will build five modern greenhouses as a model in capital Vientiane which each one covering 3,000 square meters and producing 50,000 kg of 20 to 30 kinds of crops.

Besides expanding clean agricultural production, Bounchanh said the greenhouses will utilize solar energy and underground watering systems as well as modern equipment to boost production and quality standards.

He also stressed project was part of the government’s strategy to expand organic farming development to 2025 and its 2030 vision for sustainable clean agriculture production.

“Presently, clean agriculture production is in high demand, so the project will help support better standards of production for domestic consumers and exports,” he pointed out.

Lao government is particularly looking to increase the quality and yields of sweetcorn, dry cassava, bananas, watermelons and rice for export to China which are expected to increase when the Laos-China railway is completed.

Phouangparisak hoped the project will be a model for knowledge exchange and techniques between the two nations as well as a center for Lao students’ learning on clean agriculture development.

According to a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry reported in 2018, the nation had about 50,000 hectares available for clean agriculture development.  (Xinhua)