ASEAN Centre for Cassava Research and Development

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Laos has the potential to be a major cassava producer as it remains largely an agricultural economy. Proximity to major markets such as China and Thailand, including improved transport infrastructure, has resulted in increased interest in cassava growing. Commercial exploitation, such as starch manufacturing or bioethanol production, are still in their infancy. Laos is also taking the first steps in research and development, with the major focus on agriculture. The country also lacks sufficient all-weather roads and thus the number of vehicles may be too small at this stage for pursuing a policy of substituting bioethanol for gasoline. Nonetheless, the Chinese market for chips and for bioethanol is a major attraction for growers and for the country’s exports. In 2012 Laos had an estimated 44,000 Ha under cassava, yielding 240,000 Hg/Ha and producing over 1 million tonnes (source: FAOSTAT).

It is clear from the charts that the acreage and production of cassava has increased dramatically in Laos and that yields have been improved to a point where they are now almost constant.