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Xayaboury sees rise in sweetcorn exports

Xayaboury sees rise in sweetcorn exports
Vientiane Times, 08 Feb 2010
Even though the area of sweetcorn under cultivation in Xayaboury
province was larger in 2008 than in 2009, exports of the crop to
Thailand were higher in 2009.
Last year the province exported about 392,655 tonnes of sweetcorn in
two forms, both the whole cobs and the loose kernels, but in 2008
exported only 307,327 tonnes.
In 2009 farmers planted about 55,980 hectares of the crop but planted
59,230 hectares in 2008, according to a report from provincial
The global economic crisis in 2008 led to a fall in the number of
farmers growing sweetcorn last year after the price of the crop
dropped to about 500-600 kip per kg, said a member of the agriculture
section, Ms Khankeo Nunthaxay.
With the economic recovery, sweetcorn has returned to its normal price
of about 2,000 kip per kg, according to a report from the provincial
Commercial and Industry Department.
The slump in the price of sweetcorn in 2008 affected provincial trade
and many farmers saw a fall in their income, said department Director
Somdy Souksavat.
However, sweetcorn is still the top income earner for farming families
and is the first crop to be exported from Xayaboury province in such
large quantities. It now accounts for 70 percent of total provincial
Mr Somdy said this year the sale price of sweetcorn is expected to
rise above 2,000 kip per kg.
Provincial authorities are looking to expand business by building
processing factories to meet demand from neighbouring countries and
increase the sale price of sweetcorn products.
Xayaboury also needs more factories to process sweetcorn into animal
feed to supply provincial markets and cut imports.
At present the province has only a few processing factories, which
cannot meet product demand, said Mr Somdy.
The factories can dry only 25 tonnes of sweetcorn, but local farmers
grow 300-400,000 tonnes a year.
The province also exports job's tear, cassavas, peanuts and sesame
Last year the province exported about 7,780 tonnes of job's tear, 50
tonnes of cassava, 720 tonnes of peanuts and 1,220 tonnes of sesame

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