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Vegetable marketing in Vientiane (Lao PDR)

Somsack Kethongsa, Khamtanh Thadavong, Moustier P.. 2004. Montpellier : CIRAD, 56 p..

Overall objective: The main objective of research on vegetable marketing in Laos is to help harmonize vegetable production with the market demand in terms of quantity, quality, and price. Review of available data: First a review of existing data was carried out, especially the JICA and FAO studies on food marketing in Laos. The studies point out the importance of Vientiane plain for fruits and vegetables in addition to Boloven Plateau (Champassak province) which mostly provides cabbage and potato. The three major food markets are: Tong Kan Kham, That Luang and Kua Dim; they operate both as wholesale and retail markets. Market traders usually combine a variety of functions and specialized wholesalers are few. Objective of market survey: Two surveys were organised to gain additional information. The first one, investigation of market flows and chains (activity 1) aims at appraising how the market is organised spatially and in terms of functions and to quantify the supply from the different districts/villages and imports. The second one, appraisal of traders¿ strategies, aims at: (i) finding out the structure of the market (competition) and coordination relationships among the different actors; (ii) comparing the different origins (peri-urban, rural, imports) in terms of price, quality, and availability of commodities; (iii) identifying advantages and constraints of actors including access to information. Method of market survey. The surveys took place in Tong Kan Kham, That Luang and Kua Dim markets. For the investigation of market flows and chains (activity 1), around one-third of market agents were interviewed, accounting for 92 people. The survey took place only once, in June, but data was collected on the variations during the year. Activity 2 took place in August on a sample of 50 traders. In the two surveys, the sample includes the different stakeholders present in markets (retailers, wholesalers, assemblers, producers). Main results: Among the selected vegetables, the following are subject to imports: Chinese kale; round and olive tomato; big Chinese mustard; cucumber, while the others (pakchoi1, small Chinese mustard, lettuce, yard long bean, cherry tomato) only originate from Lao production (see Table 2). The vegetables subject to imports correspond to varieties that are difficult to produce during the rainy season. In June 2002, that is the beginning of the rainy season, imports represented 22% of quantities transacted for Chinese kale, round tomato and cucumber; 15% for olive tomato; 2% for big Chinese mustard. On the whole, when taking the 9 vegetables, imports represent only 8% of total quantities transacted. Most leafy vegetables originate from Vientiane municipality, less than 30 kilometres from the city center, the biggest supplier being Hatsayphong (around 60% of the flows of leafy vegetables considered in the survey). On the whole, more than 80% of leafy-vegetables originate from less than 30 kilometres from the city centre. Hatsayphong is the main supplier of tomato, while Saixetha is the main supplier of cucumber. Decrease in the number of traders selling vegetables occurs from June to September, it is also the time of imports. The imports of tomato and Chinese kale start in April and end in December, maximum imports happening from June to August. Despite the short distance between farms and markets, the marketing chains are characterised by a certain complexity, the combination between wholesale and retail, collection and wholesale, being frequent: more than half the traders combine different functions. The typical chain involves farmers, collectors, wholesalers and retailers. More than 65% of quantities traded involve more than one intermediary between farmers and retailers, even for a perishable vegetable like water convolvulus. The specialisation of wholesale and retail stages is more frequent for imported tomato than for local tomato. The frequent overlapping of functions may be explained by the absen...

Mots-clés : Étude de marché; légume; zone périurbaine; enquête; donnée de production; analyse de système; politique de la production; distribution géographique; commercialisation; information sur le marché; république démocratique populaire lao; approvisionnement

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