New Organic Market Opens At Chao Fa Ngum Park

A new organic market opened at Chao Fa Ngum Park on Monday to respond to the increasing demand for healthy and safe agricultural products in the capital.

The Vientiane Agriculture and Forestry Department collaborated with the Agriculture and Forestry Office in Sikhottabong district to encourage the market’s development.

The opening ceremony was held on Monday evening at Chao Fa Ngum Park and saw many stalls displaying organic products that have passed quality control tests through Lao organic certifications. Organic products such as vegetables, fruits, rice, and artisan products were available for purchase.

The market will be open every Monday and is expected to have at least two tonnes of organic agricultural produce on sale. The organic market will open from 1pm until 6pm on the day and will open for a one month trial period before hoping to expand for two days per week.

The total value of products is 30 million kip and comes from 53 households, which represents 17 organic groups from six districts in Vientiane.

Sikhottabong District Governor, Mr Thongkhoun Sengdara, said at the ceremony that the market is seeking to encourage farmers to produce safe and chemically free products to ensure the health of consumers. He urges people to purchase these organic goods to promote organic farming.

The Director of the Agriculture and Forestry Office of Sikhottabong district, Mr Somphone Meuangviengkham, reported that now there are 17 organic farmers’ groups with a total of 313 household members, farming 175 hectares of land.

Six of the groups come from Hadxaifong district, six from Xaythany district, two from Xaysettha, and one each from Sikhottabong, Naxaithong and Pakngeum districts. Together they are growing 1,000 tonnes of produce per year.

An organic market has operated at the That Luang esplanade since 2006 and now opens two days per week, displaying almost 250 tonnes of organic products on Wednesdays and Saturdays, valued at 1.9 billion kip.

Organic goods are chosen by people who wish to stay healthy and farmers in other provinces such as Xieng Khuang, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Champassak are looking to learn lessons about how to produce and sell organic crops.

The groups in the capital look set to continue to expand, securing new members and aiming to grow healthy vegetables on over 30 percent of production land around Vientiane.

Head of Vientiane Organic Farmers’ Market, Mr Thongsy Southavong told Vientiane Times that they pay strict attention to quality control to ensure fair trade with their customers. The cost of organic products is different from that of similar items sold at the market by about 10-15 percent either side of the price.

Organic farmers have to pass inspection many times under strict standards to receive a certificate of organic health from the agriculture department before displaying produce at the market. Customers can be confident of top quality produce when consuming organic foods as a result.

The group will this year expand to take in another 17 households from Pakgnum and Xaysettha districts to grow organic products.

published with the permission of Vientiane Times