Company to plant 1.5 million trees

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Vientiane Times 13 May 2008 

By Xayxana Leukai

A biodiesel company will plant 500 hectares of trees in Champassak, Saravan and Xekong provinces to mark National Arbor Day on June 1.

The Vientiane office of the Y&P Agro Industry Biodiesel Company has organised the planting of one million saplings of jatropha, 300,000 of agarwood and 200,000 of rubber.

The Lao government encourages all individuals and businesses to plant trees on National Arbor Day in a bid to assist the reforestation of Laos.

Company director Ms Bouppha Phapaseuth said the company was happy to support this government campaign.

“These trees are currently popular on the world market, particularly in China and the Republic of Korea,” she said.

The company has been operating in Laos for two years and will eventually harvest rubber for export and produce biodiesel from jatropha and essential oils from agarwood.

The company plans to build a factory to produce essential oil, and in coming years it aims to expand its plantations to cover a total of 3,600 hectares.

Some of these plantations will be situated on land held under concession arrangements with the government. Others will be established on land belonging to local people – in these cases residents will provide land and labour, and the company will provide funding, saplings and marketing.

The company has employed 170 people to work on its plantations in Vientiane, Champassak, Saravan and Xekong provinces.

The company also works as a contractor for the whole process of tree production, including clearing land, planting, and cultivating saplings for customers who want to invest in a plantation without being involved in practical operations.

The company has established a relationship with a Thai company to sell them rubber. Ms Bouppha said the price of rubber was increasing, leading to hopes of increased profits. She checks tree prices in local and world markets every day and adjusts her prices to remain competitive.

Ms Bouppha is grateful to the government for prioritising the agricultural sector which in turn supports the rapid development of her business.

She said the company welcomed enquiries from anyone interested in investing in projects or establishing a plantation.