VIENTIANE, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government has urged to expedite the commercial production of cattle for export, notably to China, in anticipation of the upcoming operation of the China-Laos railway.
The Lao government is encouraging farmers in all 18 provinces across the Southeast Asian country to breed cattle for export driven by growing demand from China, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.
The move came as the government has seen a strong potential in cattle production for export and the 5.9 billion U.S. dollar railway is planned to start operation in December.
Recently, the livestock department under the Lao agriculture ministry held a virtual meeting to discuss cattle production projects with officials and business people nationwide.
Department Director Vilayphone Voraphim told the meeting that the Lao government plans to produce at least 50,000 cattle annually.
Under an intergovernmental agreement, Laos has been granted a quota of 500,000 cattle for export to China.
Lao officials said there are both opportunities and challenges for Lao cattle farmers in strengthening cattle and buffalo production based on China's needs in terms of quantity and quality.
The sale of cattle to China could generate huge returns, not only to producers and farmers, but also to the nation as a whole, according to them.
China is the largest market for all Lao exports, particularly agricultural products. From 2015 to 2019, the value of Lao exports to China increased by an annual average of more than 100 million U.S. dollars.
In June, the agriculture ministry ordered relevant departments to do more to boost cattle farming, encouraging private operators to raise more cattle for export to China.
Currently, one of the main challenges to the Lao government's plan to boost cattle production is the regular outbreak of livestock diseases, especially the foot and mouth disease, which is common in Laos. Enditem