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Organic crops eating into veggie sales

Organic croppers serving the capital's markets are shifting produce in increasing volumes, generating significant incomes for households and local communities.

Meanwhile, the city's residents are increasingly favouring organic options because they feel them to be safer and healthier.

Organically farmed leafy greens on sale. --Photos Visith

Organic crop sales take place four days a week in three main areas around Vientiane.

On Monday and Thursday, it's best to head to Chao Fa Ngum Park in Sithanneua village, Sikhottabong district.

On Wednesday and Saturdays proceed to That Luang esplanade in Xaysettha district.

Saturday is also sale day at Huanghong market in Chanthabouly district.

Produce always attracts a large number of buyers and the atmosphere is always lively.

A wide variety of local vegetables and ingredients are sold.

These include Chinese mustard, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, lettuce, chervil, dill, onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, galangal, citronella, eggplants and bamboo.

Sweet and nutritious organic fruit is also sold.

Fortunately, the price of such fare is not much greater than the standard offerings.

Sometimes the ticket price is comparable to the non-organic variety.

As such, these options are getting more popular among the public.

More educated consumers tend to care more about their health and look for healthy food choices.

Many farming families are taking advantage of the right results as many shoppers direct their spending towards organic options.

The number of consumers increases day by day and has drawn more producers in pursuit of this premium market.

There are about ten groups of more than 100 families from six districts of the capital active in the organic production game.

They plan to increase the value of output each year in response to the potential for market expansion.

Each day, most of the members can sell all their produce.

The organic crops project helps more farmers ditch chemical fertilisers in favour of organic fertilisers for health and better income.

To ensure safety, strict regulations guide production and sale.

There is a committee working to scrutinise all steps.

There are also training courses for all members of each family or person who wants to join the group to pass before being accepted as a member.

During sales, the committee will randomly check the produce on offer to ensure compliance.

They have to make a clear calendar of growth and sale and strictly follow the rules and regulations. Every member has to have a plan on growing and sale.

There is a committee that regularly inspects; each member must follow their plan and associated regulations.

If any member is found to break the rules such as using nonorganic methods, that member will be punished and banned from the group.

A grower from Nongtae village in Xaythany district, Ms Viengthong Fanthaboun, spoke to Vientiane Times while selling produce at Chao Fa Ngum park on Thursday.

She said she had grown vegetable crops for many years and was proud of progress so far.

“Like other members of the group, I am pleased and proud of our organic crops. They are different from vegetables that are sprayed with chemicals.”

“Eating the chemically-treated crops, the poison will collect in our body and may make us weaker and cause illness over time. On the other hand, eating organic products will make people healthier.”

“The process of growing organic crops is also safer without chemical fertilisers because organic fertiliser is less dangerous. It does not damage our hands or feet to touch.”

“Not only safety wise but also dealing in organic crops also makes us a considerable income. I can sell very well each day. I love this calling.”

“It is good that at present, more people tend to consume organic crops, mainly vegetables.”

“Not only growing and selling, but I and everyone in my family eats organic vegetables grown by ourselves, and we are healthier than we used to be. In the past, family members got sick, especially with stomach complaints.”

“As we know, food is vital for our health. If we eat only organic vegetables, it will make us safer from a health perspective.”

“If all Lao people could eat organic vegetables, we would all be healthier.”

“The prices of organic vegetables are only a little bit higher than for general offerings, and some are the same. So I would like to ask everyone to consume organic vegetables where possible. It will also help to boost local economies.”

Ms Davone Thonevankham, of Nongsavang village in Xaysettha district, said she chooses organic vegetables for her household, primarily for health reasons.

“I think organic crops including vegetables are beneficial for everyone. Eating them will make us healthy and active. They don't risk unwanted effects to our health and body,” she said.

“I also prefer to buy organic vegetables as they last longer in the fridge by comparison.”

“Some vegetables can go rotten within a few days when grown with chemical fertilisers, but organic options can often keep more than one week.”

“Of course, I prefer the safer and healthier option, so my family and I will continue to make the organic choice.”

 

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update August 30, 2017)

 

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