Laos: Chinese banana plantations leave locals with little land to farm

Author: Sidney Khotpanya & Richard Finney, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 9 March 2019

"Chinese Banana Plantations in Lao District Leave Locals With Little Land to Farm", 5 March 2019

Concessions of land made by the government of Laos to Chinese banana farms are leaving villagers in one northern district without enough land of their own to feed their families....

In the Beng district of Oudomxay province in northern Laos, Lao villagers once had sufficient land for farming, an official in the province’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry told RFA’s Lao Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“But the land available for farming has shrunk every year, and local farmers now have limited land on which to grow rice,” RFA’s source said.

...“Most of the [district’s] land is still held by concessions,” he said.

...“Many have contracts that will expire in 2020 or 2021,” the source said. “And some may be allowed to operate even longer if they promise to grow something other than bananas.”

“The local farmers will have to wait,” he said.

...Chemical run-off from foreign-owned farms has meanwhile polluted many of the country’s water sources, killing fish and other animals and leaving water from local rivers and streams unfit to drink, sources say.

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