Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

Rubber tapping launched in Savannakhet

Vientiane Times, 8 May 2014

The Quasa Geruco Joint Venture Company from Vietnam, who has been supervising the project since 2007, has begun tapping its rubber trees in Savannakhet province. A rubber tapping ceremony was organised yesterday at the company’s plantation in Veunhongkham village, Phin district in Savannakhet province.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Somsavat Lengsavad, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Vilayvanh Phomkhe, the Minister of Natural Resource and Environment, Mr Nourin Sinbandith, Savannakhet provincial Governor Dr Souphanh Keomixay, Vietnamese government officials, provincial authorities and company representatives attended the ceremony.

The company comes under the Vietnam Rubber Group and the Ministry of Planning and Investment approved the company’s investment in a rubber plantation in May, 2007. According to the company, they have invested 677.8 billion dong (approximately US$33 million) in planting rubber trees on 6,672 hectares of land in Savannakhet province.

The company hopes this year would see around 700 hectares of tapped rubber trees. Plans to establish a rubber processing plant in the area are underway with the company hoping it will have the capacity to process around 5,000 tonnes of rubber per year. The construction of a rubber plantation is creating job opportunities for local residents who are going to receive around 4 million dong or 1.5 million kip for their labour.

Some other works these labourers have done include building infrastructure facilities such as roads, schools, electricity systems and a temple for community development. The company has also contributed several million kip to social welfare, particularly in electronic equipment along with skills development on rubber tapping for Lao youth.

If this project continues expanding at this rate it will create job opportunities for over 3,000 locals. This is only one of the company’s projects as they have already constructed other rubber plantations on 28,000 hectares of land in Laos. The project has helped to contribute to the socio-economic development of Laos through poverty reduction. It has also solidified cooperation between Laos and Vietnam.

The company has paid a tax obligation of almost 10 billion kip to the government in the duration of this project. Despite this, the company is required to closely cooperate with the Lao and Vietnamese governments along with Savannakhet provincial authorities, local officials and residents.

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