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Cassava boosts incomes in Borikhamxay

Cassava boosts incomes in Borikhamxay
Vientiane Times, 24 Feb 2010
Cassava is an important commercial crop in Borikhamxay province,
helping farming families to boost their incomes and improve their
standard of living.
Many farmers in the province are now clearing land that is unsuitable
for rice cultivation to plant cassava crops instead, Head of the
provincial Agriculture Section, Mr Bounman Vongsavath, told Vientiane
Times yesterday.
He said cassava, tobacco and sweetcorn are the most popular commercial
crops in the province at the moment as they are fetching good prices
in domestic and regional markets.
However, farmers in Viengthong and Xaychamphone districts find it
difficult to grow commercial crops due to poor road conditions in the
wet season.
Provincial authorities are working to build and repair access roads to
facilitate the transportation of produce all year round. About 90
percent of roads in the province are now passable throughout the year.
Last year, farmers around the province planted about 1,480 hectares of
cassava. This year they planted 1,500 hectares, yielding an average of
65 tonnes a hectare, said Mr Bounman.
He said the number of farmers growing cassava continues to increase
due to rising market demand.
Demand for the crop has continued to grow and farmers don't need to
worry about finding a market for their produce.
Some domestic companies help farming families to grow cassava by
providing advice, seedlings and some credit and agreeing to purchase
the harvested crop for a set price, Mr Bounman said.
“The major markets for cassava are Vietnam and the Lao Indochina
processing factory in Vientiane ,” he said.
The Lao Indochina Group purchases many thousands of tonnes of cassava
from around Laos for processing each year.
Mr Bounman said the company may open a processing factory in
Borikhamxay province.
He said if construction goes ahead the number of farmers growing
cassava in the province will soon outstrip those growing sweetcorn,
the number one crop at present.
Last year the provincial authorities encouraged farmers to plant 2,370
hectares of sweetcorn, which rose to 2,470 hectares this year, Mr
Bounman said.

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