The government is targeting modern production methods in the nation’s agricultural development strategy to help push forward its policy agenda on food security and reducing poverty in rural areas.
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone told those attending the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s annual meeting on Tuesday that agricultural development played an important role in expanding growth in other sectors.
Consequently, the government and the authorities concerned have been enacting laws and regulations in agricultural management and forestry, particularly in rural areas, to foster sustainable development.
Dr Sonexay pointed out that while the country’s poverty rate had reduced markedly agricultural production was still of low quality overall as farmers were not employing modern techniques and getting enough support from authorities.
He urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to further refine its strategic plans with a focus on science and technology, to promote environmentally-friendly agriculture in response to climate change.
Increasing crop variety and improving infrastructure in rural areas to allow farmers to access more markets were also highlighted.
Dr Sonexay stressed the need to improve the strategy on clean agriculture and increase farmers’ opportunities to export more crops.
In addressing the challenges to farming, the deputy prime minister advised the use of new technology and modern methods to improve the quality of yields to meet market demand.
Reducing procedures in the production of agricultural goods will also help enterprises boost their output for export.
During the meeting, the ministry outlined its strategy this year to expand annual production of paddy rice to more than 4.4 million tonnes, coffee to about 160,000 tonnes, sweetcorn to 1 million tonnes, cassava to 2.28 million tonnes, meat production to 199,210 tonnes, eggs to 43,770 tonnes, and fish to 215,000 tonnes.
The ministry vowed to conduct further research and source funding from home and abroad, and work with various organisations to drive the development of the sector.
Authorities have set a target to increase farmland in 2018-2019 from 177,000 hectares to 185,000 hectares.
The ministry will store 986 tonnes of series 3 rice seeds as well as harvest 500 tonnes of series 1 and series 2 seeds, which are expected to be ready at the end of this year.