Floods lead to increase in prices of rice and pork in southern provinces

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The prices of pork and rice have been increased in southern provinces of Laos affected by floods but they are within manageable levels due to the government’s intervention. 

The price of rice increased by about 500 kip to 1,000 kip a kg, while the price of pork rose by about 5,000 kip a kg as traders were facing problems in transporting the commodities, according to Champassak province’s Industry and Commerce Department.

Many roads have been submerged by flood waters and damaged, which has resulted in traders facing difficulties in accessing their customers.

However, the price of pork is currently within the normal level as authorities in the province have directed relevant sectors to closely monitor and control prices of consumer goods and services to prevent any unfair increases following floods in Pakxe and some other areas.   

The directive encouraged the Pakxe Industry and Commerce Department to regularly monitor prices in markets, especially those selling rice, meat, fish and vegetables, to ensure that prices comply with market mechanisms.

But local residents fear that the serious flooding could lead to a shortage of rice in several provinces this year.  

The tropical depression Podul passed over Laos at the end of August and the beginning of September, bringing heavy rain and floods to the six provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet, Attapeu, Saravan, Champassak and Xekong, according to a report from the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee. 

The floods affected about 10,896 hectares of rice fields in Khammuan province, 47,457 hectares in Savannalhet province, 18,428 hectares in Saravan province and 1,711 hectares in Xekong province. There has been no report on the damage from Champassak and Attapue provinces as yet.

Some livestock farms, irrigation systems and fish ponds, which are part of the agricultural sector, were also affected by the flooding.   

A total of 101,000 hectares of wet season rice were impacted by flooding last year, about 12 percent of the total planted area of 817,800 hectares. Some 66,000 hectares of rice crops were estimated to have been destroyed according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Last year’s floods resulted in an increase in the price of paddy and polished rice in most southern provinces, with rates going up by about 1,000 kip to 2,000 kip per kg at the end of year.

During this year’s floods, some 377,703 people from 175,422 families of 1,466 villages in 43 districts have been affected. The floods killed 14 people, with three deaths reported in Savannakhet province, two in Saravan, five in Champassak, and four in Attapeu. One person in Champassak province is missing.

Currently, flood victims are in immediate need of food, drinking water, kitchen equipment, bedding, and other essential supplies.