Organic farmers meet buyers in Laos but need more opportunities

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Vientiane organic farmers group still needs more market opportunities to expand the business operations of its members so they can become sustainable.  

Department of Agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, in cooperation with the Vientiane Agriculture and Forestry Department, organised an event at Lao-ITECC in Vientiane on Saturday to promote organic vegetables. The activity was part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) supported Clean Agriculture Development Project (CADP).

The event provided an opportunity for buyers, especially companies, shops and restaurants, to directly meet the growers’ group and to register for purchase contracts or request growers to produce specific items for their outlets and firms.

The event was also open to the public, who could purchase organic vegetables, other crops and natural products to cook or consume at home.

Currently, membership of the organic group in Vientiane has increased to more than 230 households with 245 hectares in 11 villages, but their access to stable markets is still limited.

The main crops grown by the group include lettuce, spring onions, morning glory, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, long beans and okra.

The group directly sells its produce at Houay Hong market in Chanthabouly district every Saturday from 6 am to noon, at Xangkhou market in Xaythany district every Monday and Thursday from 1 pm to 6 pm, and at Dongnasok village in Sikhottabong district, every Monday and Thursday from 9 am to 6 pm.

The group also sells its produce at KM5, Xaysettha district, every Monday and Thursday from 1 pm to 6 pm, at Vientiane Centre on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to 6 pm, and at the Lao-ITECC every Wednesday and Saturday from 6 am to noon.

The government supports organic agriculture to promote fair relationships and quality of life for all involved.

To ensure that the government frames guidelines for Lao Organic Certification, the certified organic farmers strictly apply the rules to their production and check each other to maintain quality.