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Laos: Banana plantations continue to operate despite govt. ban & public outcry due to excessive use of chemicals

Author: Radio Free Asia, Published on: 6 July 2019

"RFA Reveals New Chinese Banana Plantation Near Lao Capital That Defies Ban", 3 July 2019

...[A] new Chinese banana plantation...is taking shape near the Lao capital in defiance of a central government prohibition on such projects.

...A dozen Lao laborers live in shacks in the unshaded field, with no sanitation and just a fetid, muddy puddle of water to bathe in after a day's work under the watchful eye of two Chinese supervisors.

One of the Lao workers said she was quitting. She'd decided that the risk of using excessive pesticides and herbicides isn't worth the 60,000 kip (about $7) she earns for day's work at the site....

...This new plantation is the latest sign that the business of cultivating bananas in Laos for the Chinese market – widely discredited because of the impact of the excessive use of chemicals on the environment and health – is alive and kicking.

...The central government, however, maintains that a January 2017 ban on new banana plantations remains in force, forbidding such plantations. The prohibition was prompted by concerns about chemical run-off and reports of sickened farm laborers.

...But the reality is that in recent months local officials around Laos have granted concessions for new banana plantations in provinces that include Xayabury, Oudomxay and Borikhamxay....