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Laos: Locals complain about shrinking land for food farming and pollution caused by Chinese-operated banana farms

Author: Sidney Khotpanya & Richard Finney, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 5 March 2019

"Chinese Banana Plantations in Lao District Leave Locals with Little Land to Farm," 05 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 Beng, the government has set a target for this year of 12,760 hectares for the cultivation of rice, and state authorities have fixed irrigation systems for three big projects and in five different areas. And though local farmers normally need at 12,156 hectares to feed their families, only 3,593 hectares are really available.”

Concerns over chemical run-off from the heavily polluting Chinese plantations led in...2017 to government orders forbidding new Chinese farms from being formed in the country’s northern provinces, but many still operate under contracts valid for several more years.

“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.”

As Chinese plantations encroached on district land over the years, some villagers sought work on the farms but left after being sickened by pesticides, while others left to find work in other provinces but returned to grow vegetables on plots of land too small to grow rice...

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