DUE TO decreased demand, the value of cattle exports from Laos decreased for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.
The country earned US$12 million (Bt409) in the first three months of last year but this year received only US$8.7 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
However, the retail price of beef on the domestic market still remains high at 70,000-75,000 kip (Bt289-310) per kilogram, due to a lack of supply.
To increase livestock numbers for the future, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, is promoting livestock breeding around the country in an attempt to shift from traditional farming methods to farming systems for industrial processing. The number of livestock farms increased about 10 per cent last year on the previous year, up from 1,247 to 1,370.
The ministry has set a plan to improve livestock breeding and facilitate the export of 80,000-100,000 head of cattle and buffaloes this year.
Last year, the country exported 114,000 head to neighbouring countries, including 110,000 head of cattle, the ministry reported.
Laos has also imported livestock from overseas to boost commercial breeding efforts in light of high beef consumption.
To promote livestock breeding and sustainable growth for domestic supply and export, the ministry is focusing on seven main activities: breeding pairs, animal feeds, vaccine supply and treatment, animal management and movement, slaughterhouses and meat processing, and capacity building.
As a result of the activities, the number of livestock recently increased by an average of 5.2 per cent. There were some 1.18 million head of buffaloes in 2015, while the total number of cattle in the country reached 1.92 million head, an increase of five per cent.
At present, there are various projects by foreign and domestic entrepreneurs to breed cattle for processing beef to supply domestic and export markets.
The Vientiane Cattle Breeding and Entrepreneurs Association plans to import cows from Australia to breed in the capital, which will also help supply both domestic and neighbouring markets.
The association is currently seeking funds to purchase technological equipment, pasture seeds and breeding cows.
Laos has potential to breed the cattle but there are now limited land allocations.