Cassava farmers in the provinces of Champassak and Saravan are suffering from low demand for their cassava, resulting in low prices and in some cases, their inability to sell their produce to local factories.
Over the last four years, because of the high prices and market demand for cassava, the amount of cassava grown has doubled. Many local farmers in the districts of Bachiengchaluensouk in Champassak Province and Lao-ngam of Saravan Province have begun farming cassava instead of other cash crops. This has caused an oversupply.
Over the past years, the authorities of the Agriculture Sector of Saravan Province have been encouraging farmers in the districts of Lao-ngam, Saravan and Lakhonpheng to grow cassava.
Last year the local factory taught people farming techniques for several varieties of cassava and as a result, there are now around 18,000 ha of farmland in the province being used to grow cassava.
Fresh cassava was selling for 1,200 kip per kg last year and according to authorities, over 300,000 tonnes of cassava was sold.
This year the price has dropped to only 300 kip per kg.
The number of cassava plantations in the provinces have increased and caused the price of cassava in foreign markets to decrease.
This has created problems for local farmers because although companies promised to pay 800 kip per kg for dry cassava and 320 kip for fresh cassava, they have not yet paid, said the Phailath Village Chief.
Over the past few years, local families have been able to earn over 50 million kip (over US$6,000) per year by growing cassava according to farmer groups in the districts of Lao-ngam and Bachiengchaluensouk.
This harvest season, many companies are refusing to buy or the price being offered for the cassava is so low that it is not worth harvesting, said the Phailath Village Chief.
Source: Lao News Agency