Cavendish bananas

Bananas were Laos’ most valuable agricultural export in 2020 with a hungry China market key to the category’s growth in recent years.

According to a Xinhua report, the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce said the value of the country’s banana exports rose to US$227.4m, with neighbouring China and Thailand accounting for the majority of trade.

Laos’ banana exports have been on an upward trajectory with their value increasing from US$112m in 2018 to US$197.8m in 2019.

Export growth has been driven by increased production under the country's contract farming system. The government has focused on ensuring banana plantations are operated in line with good agricultural practices and its sustainable agricultural development policy, ending agreements with companies that have violated regulations.

The shiftin China’s banana sourcing towards South-East Asian countries has also played a role in boosting Lao banana exports.

Given the success of the banana industry has had in China the Lao government is working with other fresh produce industries to increase quality in hope of gaining access.

The Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has designated a list of crops it will prioritise negotiating access to China, these include: sweet potatoes, jackfruit, longan, orange, grapefruit, dragon fruit, chilies, passionfruit, green beans, peanuts, eggplant, cabbage and pumpkins.