A large Chinese investor is looking to secure a concession for 10,000 hectares of land on the Bolaven plateau in Champassak province for rice, small crops and cattle raising, according to provincial officials.
The Planning and Investment Department in Champassak province signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese company Beidahuang earlier this week, allowing it to commence a survey and study of the area.
“We will allow them to undertake a survey on 10,000 hectares of land in the province,” the Deputy Director of the department, Mr Bounthien Phiasakha, toldVientiane Times on Friday.
All of the land is located in the two districts of Mounlapamok and Pakxong. Workers from the Chinese company and the relevant provincial department will spend six months to complete the survey study.
Before the development plans will be carried out, the Chinese company will survey the productive capacity of the land, topography, available water supplies and other aspects of interest.
If the land is found to be suitable, they will look to conclude an agreement with the provincial authorities to secure a concession.
“It is highly likely that the Chinese investors from this company will decide to invest as the company has over US$1 billion in funding available,” Mr Bounthien said.
The company will invest 100 percent of the money up front, building processing factories and planting crops on the concession area of 10,000 hectares of land, he added.
The Mounlapamok district is suitable for raising beef cattle and planting rice but the Pakxong area is perfect for cash crop cultivation.
Pakxong district on the Bolaven Plateau remains the hub of small crop production in Laos at the present time. Here, the Chinese investors are seeking over 1,000 hectares of land for planting vegetables.
Five factories will be built in the district, including a large capacity rice processing factory which will be able to manufacture 300,000 tonnes of polished rice per year. The Chinese investors have previous experience in rice production.
Mr Bounthien said most of the produce grown or raised in Champassak may be delivered to China, while some may also be sent to the neighbouring countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Currently, the company has secured two million hectares of land for agriculture and livestock production in five unnamed countries, according to Mr Bounthien.
Laos is becoming an increasingly important source country for agriculture and livestock production destined for the Chinese market.
The development of rice farming and animal farms in Champassak will further boost cooperation between Laos and China and promote continued socio-economic development.