Laos still reliant on imported plant supplies

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Local farmers and plant nurseries in Vientiane are still dependent upon imported saplings from neighbouring countries, especially Thailand, according to the owner of a local nursery.

 “I import thousands of saplings for retail every year due to insufficient availability of some saplings, and they are also cheaper,” Ms Manivanh Chanthalangsy, the owner of Chantha Gardens nursery, said.

She explained the imported plants were based on customer orders and seasonal availability of stock, with May to November being the busiest period as people plant trees during the rainy season.

“We have a group of nurseries, and we usually support each other. One of our members in Naxaithong district, Vientiane, is producing seedlings of commercial trees such as ironwood, teak and others for sale. If a customer wants to buy these seedlings, we ask them to go to that nursery. I import saplings that are not available in Laos,” she added.

Not only are the imported saplings cheaper, but as a farmer in Phongern village, Hadxaifong district, pointed out, “Some kinds of saplings are not found in Laos.”

“This is especially true for hybrid species of some plants such as mango, jackfruit, sugar apple and pomelo. Meanwhile, I plan to grow these fruit trees commercially. Of course the species that yield a better harvest are my choice for orders,” he said.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Horticulture Research Centre in Vientiane said they have a limited budget from the government and are short of staff so they cannot cultivate plants that are difficult to maintain. He said their current focus was on growing vegetables, orchids and some fruit trees.