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Business shortcuts the cause of banana problems, ministry says

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said yesterday that problems surrounding banana plantations in Laos were due to the fact that investors carried out negotiations directly with local communities instead of going through full legal channels.
Deputy Minister Bounkhuang Khambounheuang told Vientiane Times that the problems arising from banana plantations, which harmed the environment and local people in some areas, occurred because businesses and investors discussed the rental of land with individual communities and set up business after coming to an agreement with local authorities.
The ministry said banana plantations had become a hot topic after some that were established by foreign investors had harmed the soil, animals and rivers, as well as people.
“These plantations are now decreasing. Earlier records show that bananas were grown on 26,000 hectares, but in 2018 the area dropped to 20,400 hectares and to 15,000 hectares in 2019,” Mr Bounkhuang said.
The ministry’s Plantation Department needed to pass legislation to prevent further damage caused by banana plantations.
“Existing legislation states that bananas may not be grown along riverbanks and forbids the use of pesticides and fertiliser that has the potential to be harmful,” he said.

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath
(Latest Update May 23, 2019)

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