How can we ensure crop prices don’t skyrocket after floods have inundated so much farmland?

This year’s floods have wiped out large swathes of farmland and many people are concerned that food prices will rise as a result of short supply. Vientiane Times asked people around the country for their views on this worrying prospect.

Mr Sounthone Sinthavong, a resident of Huaphan province: Of course some crops are bound to be more expensive this year because many farms have been flooded and crops have died. Vegetables are not a big problem because they will grow quickly again after the water has receded but I worry that rice will be expensive because it takes a long time to grow and it needs just the right conditions, so it can only be harvested once or twice a year. Many places don’t have irrigation so people can’t grow rice in the dry season. The government should help farmers to replant rice so they have enough for their family and to supply the market.

 

Ms Vannapha, a resident of Vientiane: We need to plan what to do about this situation and the government should try to come up with solutions. I think more crops have been lost this year than in previous years. The authorities should work with villagers and farmers to help them take good care of their crops and livestock. Two weeks ago I went to visit my hometown in Keo-oudom district, Vientiane province, where at least 50 head of cattle had died due to disease. Some people sell sick animals for a very low price but they bury most of the dead animals. Animals often get sick in the rainy season and others become infected when diseased carcasses are buried because they contaminate floodwater. The authorities should educate people about animal husbandry so they don’t lose money by rearing livestock.

Mr Tae Seanthammavong, a vegetable vendor at a Vientiane market: Some vegetable prices are already high compared to past years and it’s hard to sell them. I think prices will rise even further later on. Some of the vegetables we import from neighbouring countries, such as chillies, are quite expensive because most of the farms are close to rivers and a lot of crops were destroyed by floods. The floods could continue until the end of September, so it means we have to deal with this problem for another month. Then all of our crops will be more expensive and we’ll have to import more.

Mr Seeva Luang-aphai, a resident of Oudomxay province: My province is badly flooded and it’s been like that for more than a month already. All the crops and plants on many people’s farms have died. There aren’t that many vegetables on sale in markets and they are quite expensive. People are really worried, especially in rural areas, because they will be very poor if their rice farm is flooded. It will mean they don’t have enough money to buy rice and other food. It’s hard to solve this problem but our only choice is to plant more rice in the dry season. We should build a lot more irrigation systems so that more rice can be planted.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update September 3, 2018)


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