Aroma bananas farm, Luang Namtha
(KPL) Luang Namtha authorities have permanently suspended plantations of aroma bananas, a foreign strain, after evidence of hazardous proven chemical substances being used in banana farms.
The Planning and Cooperation Division under the Luang Namtha Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department told local media on March 17 that the Luang Namtha Governor has issued an instruction on suspension of aroma banana plantations and had disallowed expanding banana farms last year.
Over the past one year, the area of banana farms, which were invested by Chinese investors, has reduced gradually and only 2,500 ha out of over 4,000 ha of aroma banana farms remain, said an authority.
Although the banana farms have created jobs for locals, the surplus application of chemicals on the banana farm have left a chemical residue that would cause a negative environmental impact and pose a threat to the living conditions of local people and will, in the long term, surely affect the tourism industry.
The chemicals used are harmful to the health and living conditions of people nearby the farms; they neither know about the possible consequences of exposure to the chemical residue nor lack knowledge about proper protection.
Banana plantation workers and locals nearby the farms have reportedly got sick and some have reportedly died following the spraying of pesticides in the farms. However, the report did not disclose the location of the farms.
Luang Namtha province authorities have suggested local people to grow alternative cash crops replacing suspended banana farms such as vegetables, cassava, Job’s tears and maize or even transform them into livestock farms.
Xayaboury, Bokeo, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Phongsaly provinces are the main areas where Chinese banana farms exist for export to their home country.