Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong has advised agribusiness entrepreneurs to maintain the standards of their businesses while also persistently studying market supply and demand alongside business operations so that sustainability is ensured.

Mr Thongsing gave the advice when visiting the farmlands of Mittaphab Agriculture Development Company in Vientiane yesterday.

The company reached a concession agreement with Vientiane’s Department of Planning and Investment on March 25 for operating the business on a 148 hectare farm in Salakham village Hadxaifong district.

The farm will include a reservoir for plants, fish ponds, greenhouses for hydroponic and other organic vegetables, natural trees and traditional medicinal plants.

The complex will also be developed as an agro-tourism venture, which will include a guesthouse, restaurant, and distribution facilities for various organic products.

Prime Minister Thongsing, who is accompanied by Vientiane Mayor Soukanh Mahalath and Minister to Government Office Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoun, praised the initiative of the business developer, who has turned from running a pig farm to developing an agricultural complex for supplying safe and healthy organic vegetables to Vientiane’s marketplaces.

He said the developer should make more effort to push forward the development as the project is still in its infancy. Meanwhile he was confident that the developer will make good of the project based on the existing infrastructure.

However Mr Thongsing recommended the developer to be persistent in studying the market situation, saying Lao people like imitating what other people have done successfully which can lead to market collapse due to oversupply.

The concession over the Salakham marsh wetlands will run for 70 years. The company has initial plans to build a market this year to distribute agro-products grown by farmers in Hadxaifong, Xaysetth a, and Xaythany districts.

In the first stage, the developer has also planned to build a 3,000 metre canal to prevent flooding in the wet season.

The next steps include fish ponds, a reservoir, tree planting, and building the greenhouses for organic vegetables, which the company plans to complete in the period from 2017 to 2019.

Meanwhile tourism facilities are slated for development from 2020 to 2022, and a laboratory and demonstration garden along with recreational facilities in the period from 2023 to 2025.

The company’s President Mr Phouvong Korasak said it was expected that more than 320 billion kip would be required to complete the project.

Concerning project sustainability, Prime Minister Thongsing advised the developer to select vegetables and plants which are highly suited to the soil and offer good yields while noting that fish breeding is always a good animal husbandry venture that is popular among consumers.

He suggested that growing various kinds of roses would also be successful as the country currently relies on the import of flowers from neighbouring countries.

Regarding the guesthouse, he called for the facility to include meeting and convention halls which can accommodate various delegations and serve healthy and safe food at the same time. He also stressed the importance of developing the land in a sensitive way so that it maintains its natural beauty, advising that information plaques should be included as a source of knowledge for visitors.

Mr Thongsing also called on the developer to train company workers to have good ethics and conduct, which he said will play a crucial part in ensuring business sustainability.

Source: Vientiane Times
Published on May 6, 2014