VIENTIANE, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The contribution by agriculture to the Lao economy continued to decline in 2017, local daily Vientiane Times reported Thursday.
According to a recent report from the Bank of the Lao PDR, the central bank of Laos, the agriculture sector saw only 2.8 percent growth in 2017 and contributed just 16 percent of the country's GDP.
In the past, agriculture was one of the main drivers of the Lao economy, but the growth of investment in the industry and service sectors has deflated the contribution of agriculture, said the report.
The industry sector saw 11 percent growth in 2017, accounting for 30 percent of GDP, while the service sector shrank by 4.5 percent but remained a major contributor to the economy, accounting for 41.1 percent of GDP.
Agriculture's contribution shrank even as international development partners such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank urged the Lao government to diversify its economic base so that it would no longer be so reliant on the resource sector, said the report.
They particularly urged the Lao government to strengthen agriculture as it employs more than 70 percent of the population. If agriculture was more robust, it would free the majority of the population from poverty.