Laos: Railway transport sees bananas reach China unspoiled

Growers are using the Laos-China Railway to ship bananas from Laos to China, with the speedy means of transport ensuring that the fruit reaches its destination before overripening or going mouldy.

In the past the shipment of agricultural produce was problematic because of the long time taken for trucks to make the journey to China, with many consignments going rotten before delivery.
Another problem for transporters were the long delays at the Laos-China border during the Covid-19 outbreak, when trucks had to wait in line for days to undergo rigorous checks. Bananas in particular were prone to damage because of the lengthy transport time. 
Business operators demanded solutions after they lost money due to spoilage, saying faster transport was essential if the sale of agricultural produce to China were to be sustainable.
Fortunately, the new railway has provided a solution and shipments of fruit and vegetables are now regularly making their way to China this way. 
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and representatives of Chinese companies on Monday held a ceremony to mark the first shipment of bananas from Laos to China. 
The ceremony was attended by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Mr Kikeo Singnavong, and senior officials from other entities.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is encouraging the cultivation of more agricultural produce in order to reduce the need for imported fruit and vegetables.  
Lao growers have been able to sell more of their crops to China since an agreement was signed between the two governments in 2012, with 15 crop types now being sold to China.
In 2013, the two countries agreed on the establishment of large-scale banana plantations in Laos.
In August this year Laos’ Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry signed an agreement with Hunan province in China on the sale of 1 million tonnes of produce annually.