Where’s the beef? Laos can’t meet Chinese cattle import demands

China has agreed to import half a million cows this year from Laos, but the landlocked Southeast Asian nation is having trouble filling the order due to a lack of capacity to produce them and high quality standards imposed by Beijing, Lao government officials and farmers told Radio Free Asia.

In June 2021, Laos launched a campaign to export 500,000 cows per year to China – to meet rising demand for beef – and its Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry heavily promoted cattle farming and provided training for farmers and entrepreneurs, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

But before the end of July that year, Lao cattle and cattle products were banned due to an outbreak of the bovine lumpy skin disease, the Laotian Times reported.

The deal was back on in 2022, but Laos sent only 8,100 cattle to China last year. 

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Translated by Sidney Khotpanya for RFA Lao service. Edited by Eugene Whong and Malcolm Foster.