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What should be done to ensure food security?

Most people in Laos grow crops of various kinds, but farming methods are basic and yields are relatively small, meaning that much of the food we eat must be imported. Vientiane Times asked around for opinions on what could be done to expand crop production and increase yields, so that we become less dependent on imported fruit and vegetables.


Ms Baithong Thongauan, a resident of Sisattanak district, Vientiane: I think more farmers are switching from growing crops for their own consumption to production on a commercial basis, but so much of what we eat continues to be imported. It’s time that farming was modernised and made more efficient so that crop yields increase significantly. Most people continue to grow crops in traditional ways, with a focus on monoculture, meaning that at certain times of the year there is too much of one particular crop, while in other months there is insufficient. When large amounts of the same crop are grown, it means the sale price falls. Farmers also use a great deal of chemical fertiliser and pesticides, which means that the fruit and vegetables we buy may be contaminated. Farmers need to use fewer harmful chemicals for the sake of consumers. I think the authorities need to educate farmers about efficient and healthy cultivation practices, so that more and good quality food is produced. In addition, the government should resolve the problem of over and under supply of certain crops.
Mr Anousa Sianong, an employee in Chanthabouly district, Vientiane: Most people in Laos are farmers, so it’s hard to understand why we have to import so much of the food we eat. I think this is probably because yields here are small, due to inefficient farming methods. The government should make a strong attempt to modernise agriculture and teach farmers about better cultivation and harvesting methods. At the same time, farmers need to change their ways and think in terms of clean agriculture, so that the food we eat is nutritious and we don’t ingest too many chemicals as a result of the heavy use of fertiliser.
Ms Siphone Southammavong, an employee in Luang Prabang province: As we all know, eating the right food is what keeps us healthy. The food and drinks we consume must be clean and of good quality. Fortunately, the government is now paying more attention to clean and green methods of farming. But many farmers are reluctant to reduce their use of chemicals, which puts both them and consumers at risk. I know that people want to get their crops to market as soon as possible, but they should also consider the health of the people who buy the fruit and vegetables they grow. I think more people should switch to organic farming.
Ms Khai Maniseng, an employee in Vientiane: As the population increases, food production must also increase to keep pace with demand. I think the government should educate farmers about improved production methods and ensure that the supply and type of crops produced meets market demand. We need more and better quality food to be produced in Laos, as this would help to ensure food security. I also think the government should try to persuade consumers to eat more of the right kind of food and to eat a nutritious diet, especially in rural areas, where people are poorly informed about what constitutes healthy eating.


By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update August 28, 2023)

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