Lao Food Prices Higher Than Neighbours

Source: Vientiane Times

The prices of food staples in Laos are still around 10-20 percent higher compared to neighbouring countries especially Thailand and Vietnam, the National Assembly (NA) was informed.

The price of Grade A pork in Laos is 35,000 kip a kg, in Thailand 30,000 kip and 27,720 kip in Vietnam; while Grade B is 33,000 kip in Laos, 28,862 kip in Thailand and 25,870 kip in Vietnam, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ms Khemmani Pholsena reported at the NA yesterday.

The tilapia price in Laos is 19,000 kip a kg, 18,000 kip in Thailand and only 11,000 kip in Vietnam.
The price of farmed chicken in Laos is 32,000 kip a kg and 18,000 kip in Thailand while the price of eggs in Laos is 1,000 kip each, 674 kip in Thailand and 924 kip in Vietnam, she said.

 

Foodstuffs in Laos were more expensive as domestic production is still small, more outlay is required for inputs with most products imported, and the cost of financing capital is high, she explained.

Other factors included a lack of advanced farming methods and equipment and the cost of labour is also relatively high.

“However, the price of sticky rice in Laos is lower than compared to Thailand and Vietnam but white rice is higher,” Ms Khemmani said.

The price of Grade A sticky rice in Laos is 8,500 kip a kg, while in Thailand it is 10,580 kip and 8,870 kip in Vietnam.

The price of Grade A white rice in Laos is 10,000 kip and 7,220 kip in Thailand, she noted.

To manage the price of staples and services, the government, especially the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, had issued new regulations to cover the management more items, Ms Khemmani explained.

The ministry also improved coordination with other ministries, provinces and at local level to assist domestic trade staff while Vientiane had been selected as a model in goods management and inspection and consumer protection, she said.

Coordination has been implemented with the assistance of smartphone apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Line to keep committees informed and aware of implementation timeframes.

“The ministry has also paid more attention to distributing the rules and regulations of price management to entrepreneurs and shop owners to increase understanding,” Ms Kemmani said.

The ministry will continue cooperating with other relevant sectors to ensure the implemented measures to manage prices and service costs are effective.

Currently, food staple prices in Laos are generally steady but some fruit and vegetables have been subject to seasonal fluctuation.

In the past, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce issued different decrees, decisions, rules and announcements to manage prices but implementation has not been effective.

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