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Beneficial Rains Received at Start of Lao 2013 Main Wet Season

19 July 2013

LAO - Planting of the 2013 main season paddy crop started in May and will continue until July. Relatively normal rainfall pattern was recorded between early May and mid June, benefiting planting activities.

Preliminary forecast put the 2013 rice output, including the ongoing 2013 main (wet) and the 2013/14 secondary (dry) season, at 3.06 million tonnes, similar to the 2012 output, reports the FAO.

2012 rice production estimated at a near average level

Harvesting of the 2012 main season paddy crop was completed in December 2012, while the secondary season concluded in April 2013. In aggregate, the 2012 rice output is estimated by FAO at 3.05 million tonnes, similar to the 2011 output.

Despite a slight increase in planted area, the 2012 production remained almost unchanged from the 2011 flood affected harvest, mainly as result of the negative effects of excess rains and floods, as well as shortages of inputs.

Maize exports to increase slightly in 2013

The country is expected to remain more-or-less self sufficient in rice with small exportable surpluses in recent years. However, some 260 000 tonnes of maize are likely to be exported during 2013. Much of the trade takes place with neighbouring Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and China.

Rice prices stabilise in February and March 2013

Prices of most consumed first and second quality glutinous rice remained stable in Vientiane market in February and March 2013 averaging KIP 7 500 (about USD 0.97) and 6 500 (about USD 0.84) per kg, respectively. In July and August 2012 prices decreased markedly, following the expectations of a bumper 2012 wet season crop.

However in October and November prices reversed, mainly as a result of Government decision to set a minimum purchase price to support farmers’ income.

The latest available official data from Lao Statistics Bureau (LSB) indicate that the overall national year-on-year Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose in April 2013 by 5.5 percent.

Food insecurity is of concern in parts of the country

In spite of the country being virtually self-sufficient in rice and a net exporter of maize at the national level, food insecure areas exist at sub-national level. Given that some 90 percent of the rural people derive their income from agricultural sector, any production shocks increase risks to the vulnerable population.

TheCropSite News Desk

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