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Storage Overview

Although agriculture employs 85% of the national workforce, it only accounts for 23% of the GDP (Statistics yearbook 2014, Lao PDR). Rice accounts for over 90% of the total crop production and about 95% of farming households grow rice for their own use. Agriculture remains predominantly subsistence and commercial trade in agricultural products remains at a small scale and not well documented. Agricultural marketing in Laos has short marketing channels and is generally small-scale. This has limited the need and growth of the commercial storage sector.

According to the Mekong Private Sector Development Facility (MPDF), only 5% of the country’s total rice production is commercially marketed. The State Enterprises for Food and Crop Promotion (SEFCP) controls 70% of the commercial trade in rice with the private sector controlling the remaining 30%. In some provinces SEFCP holds a monopoly on marketing food commodities, often not allowing private traders to operate without SEFCP authorization.

Limited farmer access to marketing opportunities has also constrained the growth of wholesale trading activities. Farmers usually sell their produce directly to retail traders at the farm or at roadsides where some farmers display their goods. While rice mills and SEFCP have large warehouses for paddy and milled rice, there are very limited storage facilities for other agricultural produce.

Trading of fish and other perishable products usually requires cold storage facilities; these are presently non-existent in all areas. Currently, fresh fish and meat products are sold at retail markets within 12-24 hours of slaughter or capture. For products with stable demand such as vegetables, pigs and fresh chickens, some farmers within close proximity to urban areas have fixed-price supply agreements with retailers and directly deliver the commodities to retailers on a daily basis.

As a result the available medium to large scale storage facilities are mainly sate owned (Ministries and the SEFCP - see Annexes: 5.8. Storage Facilities ), plus a growing capacity of medium scale commercial millers and wholesalers concenetrated in urban areas.

However, Laos is immediately adjacent to at least 200 million Thais, Chinese and Vietnamese. Industrial development is accelerating rapidly in these countries and so is the demand for food products. This is creating great opportunity for Laos and has led to a significant increase in investment in agro-based initiatives – and thus increasing the demand for supply chain capcity and potential growth of this sector.   

Commercial Storage

In recent years, the Government of the Lao PDR has expressed interest in establishing Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) through the issuance of several important decisions and decrees, including: the Prime Minister's Agreement on Establishment of the National Rice Reserve Warehouse (No.93/PMO, 2009); the Decree of the Prime Minister on the State Reserves (No.291/PM, 2013); and the Decision of the Prime Minister on the Implementation of State Reserves (No.76/PM, 2014). Through these instruments, the Government of the Lao PDR has established the broad framework for establishing emergency rice and seed reserves as part of a broader State Reserve Fund, to be administered by the State Reserve Department within the Ministry of Finance. These SGR initiatives by the Government of the Lao PDR reflect its broader strategy on disaster preparedness and response, as outlined in the Strategic Plan on Disaster Risk Management.

The Decree of the Prime Minister on the State Reserves (No.291/PM, 2013) introduced the concept of a broader State Reserve Fund (SRF), of which the emergency rice reserve was to form part. The SRF was to be administered by a new department created within MOF called the State Reserve Department (SRD). The SRF, which is still in the process of being established, is to include items stored both in physical form (40%) and cash-based form (60%) which could then be used for purchases in local and international markets. MOF is in charge of the overall management and coordination of the reserves, while the relevant ministries manage the day-to-day activities for each specific commodity stored.

In 2014, WFP sponsored a study to review the Strategic Grain Reserves in the country with the objective of supporting the Lao PDR government’s efforts for establishment and/or strengthening the reserve system in the country.

The key findings and recommendations of the study were as follows;

  • A well-designed SGR can play an important role in enhancing food security in the country
  • SGRs would be most effective in Laos when focused particularly on emergency response
  • For the SGRs to be successful, it is critical that the objectives are clear, the planned size of reserves is achievable (production surplus) and affordable (funding), clear lines of responsibility between various ministries and stakeholders are established and procedures are clearly defined.
  • Public storage is very expensive and not sustainable; private storage is typically less costly (lower establishment and maintainance costs) and there is a possibility of operational efficiencies; cash reserve funds is cheaper than physical storage with the main cost being having the cash tied up in an account; call option contracts and regular trade are the cheapest options, although they involve additional uncertainties and challenges.
  • The most effective approach for Laos would be a combination of rice stockpile plus cash reserves
  • This study proposed SGRs comprising of: 3,000 tons of seed; 15,000 tons of milled rice; 10,000 tons of physical stock (spread between north, central and south); and cash account sufficient to purchase 5,000 tons of milled rice. In event of an emergency, 10,000 tons of rice stock would be used first, if > 10,000 tons are needed, cash reserve could be used to purchase additional 5,000 tons of rice.

It was also noted that development partners are willing and can play a big role in assisting and supporting the government’s efforts towards establishment of SGRs in the country – particularly regarding technical assistance

Commercial Storage

Commercial storage is still limited but is growing. Currently large storage facilities are only available in the capital city and medium to smaller size warehouses in the larger cities.

See Annexes: 4.5 Laos Storage and Milling Company Contact List

Storage Used by Humanitarian Organizations

The storage capacity of the humanitarian sector is very limited – with only WFP having facilities outside the capital. 

The total warehousing capacity for WFP's Laos Country Office is about 12,380 MT; Vientiane (5,760 MT), Oudomxai (3,500 MT), Luangnamtha (550 MT), Saranvanh (2,570 MT) – storing both food and non-food items. 

The Vientiane warehouse facility is an in-kind contribution from Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. The Provincial Educationl departments of Educations in Oudomxai, Luangnamtha, and Saravanh have also made in-kind contributions of warehouses.

All WFP food commodities received, through local, regional, or international purchases are received at Vientiane warehouse and then despatched to the 3 strategically located provincial warehouses in Saravanh (South), Oudomxai (North) and Luangnamtha (North).

The Saravanh warehouse caters for FDPs in the southern provinces of Saravanh, Sekong and Attapue, while Oudomxai warehouse despatches to FDPs in Oudomxai and Pongsaly provinces, and Luangnamtha to FDP in Luangnamtha and Borkeo provinces. Each of these warehouses are managed by staff located in the respective locations.

WFP has 3 Mobile Storage Units available for emergency preparedness, each with a capacity of 500 MT. The Wikhalls are prepositioned as follows, 1 Unit at Laungmamtha, 1 Unit at Saravan, and 1 Unit at Oudomxai. 

Cold Chain

Limited availability

Public Sector Storage

Warehouse Name & LocationBuilding No.Capacity (MT)FloorRoofWallOwner

Vientiane Capital

      
Sangthong Dist.1500WoodenZinc SheetConcreteSFSE*
Naxaythong Dist.1200WoodenZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
B. Mai1200ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
B. Horm1500ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
B. Marknao1300ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
B. Naxorn1400ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
B. Dontiev1500ConcreteZinc SheetWooden
Minis. of
Agr.
B. Hadkieng1500ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
B. Nonkhor1300ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
B. Donnokkhoum1300ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
SMT Warehouse11,000ConcreteCorrugate SheetConcreteSMT
Vangxay12,000ConcreteCorrugate SheetConcreteSociete Lao Im-Ex.
"22,000ConcreteCorrugate SheetConcreteSociete Lao Im-Ex.
"32,000ConcreteCorrugate SheetConcreteSociete Lao Im-Ex.
"42,000ConcreteCorrugate SheetConcreteSociete Lao Im-Ex.
B. Tanmixay (Dong Dok Uni.)11,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteMinis. of Culture
"21,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteMinis. of Culture
Done Noune11,000ConcreteCorrugate SheetConcreteMinis. of Agr.
Lao Japanese Port (Km 4)12,000ConcreteCorrugate SheetConcreteMinis. of Commu.
Thong Sang Nang1300ConcreteZinc SheetZinc SheetMr. Phet Vongkhanti
 2550ConcreteZinc SheetZinc SheetMr. Phet Vongkhanti
Sanong Wathou (KM 7)11,500ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteLax Max (Minis. of Trade)
"21,500ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteLax Max (Minis. of Trade)
Hongsi Thansamai (Nongtang)11,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteMinis. of Defence
Laksi (KM 4)11,000ConcreteCorrugate SheetConcreteMinis. of Education
Special Education compound1600ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteMinis. of Education
Friendship Bridge11,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
"21,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
Km 17 Vientiane Capital18,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteMinistry of Labor & Social Welfare

Vientiane Province

      
B. Phonemy2500ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
Xanakham Dist.1500ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE

Borikhamxay

      
Paksan Port12,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
B. Paksan2250ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
B. Paksan Tai1300ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE

Khammouane

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Savannakhet

      
Houadeunyon1700ConcreteCorrugate SheetWoodenSFSE

Saravann

      
Khongxedon Dist.31,000ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
Khongxedon Dist.3300ConcreteZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
Provincial Warehousen/a100n/an/an/aSFSE

Champasak

      
Hongsy Thansamai31,200ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
Dafi (Km 10)610,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
Phonesa-athn/a1,000---SFSE
Phoumuang (Km4)n/a1,000---SFSE
Warehouse (Km4)n/a1,000---SFSE
Kengkeungn/a800---Private
Phatthanakankasetn/a800---Private
Warehouse Km 2n/a500---Private
Km 2 wareouse14,000ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteMinis. of Labor & Social Welfare

Sekong

      
Provincial Warehouse1500WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
Kalum Dist.1200WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
Dakcheung1200WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE

Attapeu

      
Warehouse of MLSWn/a100---MLSW
Sanamxay Dist.n/a100---District.

Xagnabouri

      
Provincial Warehouse3400WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE

Luangprabang

      
Nan Dist.1200WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
Nan Dist.1200WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE

Oudomxay

      
B. Huaykhom (Km 5)1500WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
"2250WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE

Luangnamtha

      
Sing Dist.1300WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE
Provincial Warehouse1500WoodenZinc SheetWoodenSFSE

Phongsali

      
Provincial Warehouse1500WoodenZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
Provincial Warehouse1300ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE

Houaphan

      
Kham Dist.1800ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
Nathong1500WoodenZinc SheetConcreteSFSE
Provincial Warehouse1250WoodenZinc SheetConcreteSFSE

Xiangkhoang

      
Phonesavann1800ConcreteZinc SheetConcreteSFSE

Bokeo

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Special Region Xaysomboun

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* SFSE. State Food Stuff company