VIENTIANE, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Laos earned more than 900 million U.S. dollars from the export of agricultural products in 2021, reaching 82 percent of the target figure set for 2021.
According to local daily Vientiane Times report on Thursday, bananas were the highest earner, bringing in 225 million U.S. dollars, while the export of rubber earned 214 million U.S. dollars, cassava sales brought in 196 million U.S. dollars, sugarcane earned 25 million U.S. dollars, and watermelon exports earned 26 million U.S. dollars.
The figures were reported by Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Investment, Sonexay Siphandone, at a meeting held by the government, which was attended by cabinet members and provincial governors.
In addition, the export of 8,100 cattle and buffaloes earned 33.9 billion kips (some 2.9 million U.S. dollars), of which 1,992 cattle and 21 buffaloes were sold to China.
Under an intergovernmental agreement, China has given Laos an export quota of 500,000 cattle.
The sale of livestock to China was hampered by an outbreak of lumpy skin disease in cattle and restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the outbreak of lumpy skin disease is now under control and Laos is no longer on the list compiled by the World Organization for Animal Health which names countries where the disease is prevalent, according to the report.
In 2021, the Lao government made a strong push for businesses and farmers to operate on a commercial basis so they could produce more animals and crops for supply to the domestic market and processing factories.
The government is also placing a strong focus on livestock breeding for export purposes as well as increased agricultural production to reduce the amount of goods imported by Laos, said the report, adding that it is hoped that the China-Laos Railway will speed up the export of agricultural products in 2022, facilitating trade between Laos and China.
Moreover, various fruits and vegetables grown in Laos have been listed in a priority grouping for sale to China.
China is a key purchaser of agricultural products from Laos, accounting for more than 80 percent of Laos' exports. The main crops sold to China include cassava, bananas, watermelons, sugarcane and rubber, according to the report. Enditem