Prime Minister urges Xanakham to take up organic farming
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on Monday visited Xanakham district, Vientiane province, where he encouraged local authorities to switch to organic agriculture and abandon the use of chemicals.
He urged authorities to make use of the local potential for organic agriculture, saying this would help to protect the environment, boost crop yields, and supply market demand for organic produce.
Authorities should also ensure that trade in the area complied with the law. This would curb the illegal trade in timber trade, immigrant workers, and drug trafficking, Mr Thongloun said.
Xanakham district Governor Mr Samarn Visethyaphong said the district had considerable potential for agriculture such as the cultivation of organic rice and various vegetables.
Local farmers were not well versed in the correct use of chemicals and officials had banned all shops from selling fertiliser and other chemicals traditionally used in agriculture, he said.
Mr Samarn said district officials have now set up nine organic rice growing groups. Rice is grown on more than 8,300 hectares yielding 25,000 tonnes a year. Some of the crop is sold to markets in the neighbouring province of Xaysomboun and to Vientiane. Meanwhile, agriculture officials have been encouraging villagers to grow vegetables in greenhouses, and to grow bananas and other crops. They are also planning to set up more organic vegetable groups, as well as secure more markets.
Mr Samarn also reviewed gains made in socio-economic development in the district, saying that Xanakham had enjoyed political stability and peace for over 20 years.
The economy is growing at about 8 percent annually, while average annual income per capita has reached US$1,775 and enough rice is grown each year so that each person has an average of at least 1,000kg.
In 2016, Xanakham district collected and contributed revenue amounting to 4.74 billion kip to the national budget, while all households have access to clean water and electricity.
There are 34 villages in the district and most people are farmers. Seventy percent of villages have achieved developed status, 94 percent of villages have been declared models of culture, and 97 percent are reportedly crime free. All villages have been declared models of health.
Xanakham district also produces a dried banana snack that has been certified under the One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme – the first such product in the district.
Vientiane province produces 13 ODOP items, which are helping to generate more revenue for villagers, Mr Samarn added. Mr Thongloun and his entourage also visited Xanakham district hospital, ODOP production groups, and some small factories.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 16, 2017)