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

Posts Tagged ‘Champasak’

Coffee colonialism brews trouble for farmers in Laos

Southeast Asia Globe, July 04, 2012

In a situation reminiscent of the blockbuster Avatar, a small ethnic group in Southern Laos is battling an international Singapore-based agribusiness, for the return of their land. Their faces are not blue. They are brown from hard work under intense sun, and they travel by open truck instead of flying dragons, but the farmers’ intensity and potential for dramatic conflict is equivalent to that of a Hollywood film. Puan is a thin, angular-faced man and unofficial leader of the five-man delegation of Nya Hitun/Yahern people that came to Vientiane in mid-April. He looked up, his sharp cheekbones catching the light and said, “We will die for our land”. The way things are in Laos at times, that might just happen. In the hard-line nation, protest is still banned and those who disobey are often arrested and disappear.

ບໍ່ແຮ່ບົກໄຊ໋ເຢີ້ຍໜ້າທ້າທາຍຊາວສວນກາເຟບໍລະເວນ

ວຽງຈັນທາມສ໌, 26 ເມສາ 2012

ສວນກາເຟທີ່ກວ້າງໃຫຍ່ຈະບໍ່ມີອີກຕໍ່ໄປຖ້າຫາກລັດຖະບານບໍ່ຈຳກັດຂະໜາດບໍ່ແຮ່ບົກໄຊ໋ເຊິ່ງເປັນໂຄງການທີ່ສະເໜີເຮັດໃນເຂດພູພຽງບໍລະເວນພາກໃຕ້ຂອງລາວ, ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ຈາກສະມາຄົມກາເຟລາວກ່າວ ຕໍ່ວຽງຈັນທາມສ໌.  “ພະນັກງານທີ່ດິນໄດ້ເຮັດການສຳຫຼວດ ແລະ ພົບວ່າໂຄງການບົກໄຊຈະຖືກປະມານເຄິ່ງໜຶ່ງ ຂອງສວນກາເຟ ທີ່ມີໃນປັດຈຸບັນ,” ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ຜູ້ດັ່ງກ່າວເວົ້າ, ເຊິ່ງລາວເອງບໍ່ຕ້ອງການອອກຊື່ ຕົນ. “ຖ້າລັດຖະບານບໍ່ຈຳກັດຂະໜາດຂອງພື້ນໂຄງການເຊິ່ງຖືກພື້ນທີ່ຂອງຂ້ອຍ, ຂ້ອຍຄິດວ່າ ສວນກາເຟກວ່າເຄິ່ງໜຶ່ງຈະບໍ່ມີອີກ. ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ເປີດເຜີຍຂໍ້ມູນຕໍ່ກັບສື່ມວນຊົນວ່າໃນອາທິດຕໍ່ໜ້ານີ້ຈະມີກອງ ປະຊຸມຄະນະບໍລິຫານກາເຟແຫ່ງຊາດລາວ ປະກອບມີພະ ນັກງານລັດຖະບານ, ຜູ້ປູກກາເຟ ແລະ ຜູ້ຄ້າ ເຊິ່ງຈະຫາລືນຳກັນໃນທ້າຍເດືອນນີ້. ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ກ່າວວ່າ ລາວຫວັງວ່າຄະນະບໍລິຫານຈະຫາລືເຖິງມາດຕະ ການທີ່ເຂັ້ມແຂງເພື່ອ ປົກປ້ອງສວນກາເຟເພື່ອຮັບປະກັນການເຕີບໂຕຢ່າງຍືນຍົງຂອງອຸດສະຫະກຳໃນລາວ.
ມີສວນກາເຟປະມານ 50,000 ເຮັກຕາຢູ່ໃນພູພຽງບໍລະເວນ, ເຊິ່ງມີຜະລິດຕະຜົນທັງໝົດປະມານ35,000  ໂຕນ. ໃນປີ2011, ປະເທດລາວສົ່ງກາເຟອອອກໄດ້21,000ໂຕນ, ນຳເອົາເງິນຕາຕ່າງປະເທດເຂົາມາ ປະເທດໄດ້ເຖິງ US$50 ລ້ານໂດລາ. ກຸ່ມດາວເຮືອງ, ເປັນໜຶ່ງໃນວິສະຫະກິດສ່ວນບຸກຄົນລາຍໃຫຍ່ສຸດໃນລາວ, ໄດ້ລົງທຶນປະມານ US$65 ລ້ານໂດລາ ເພື່ອຈະສ້າງໂຮງງານຜະລິດກາເຟໃນອີກບໍ່ດົນ, ເຊິ່ງຕ້ອງ ການເມັດກາເຟຈຳນວນຫຼາຍ. ບໍລິສັດຍັງໄດ້ລົງທຶນເຮັດສວນປູກເພື່ອຮັບປະກັນການຕອບສະໜອງ ກາເຟໃຫ້ກັບໂຮງງານ, ເຊິ່ງຄາດວ່າຈະເປີດໃນອານາຄົດອັນໃກ້ນີ້. ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ບອກວ່າ ລາວຮູ້ຂ່າວ ມາຈາກອຳນາດການປົກຄອງແຂວງຈຳປາສັກວ່າລັດຖະບານໄດ້ອານຸຍາດໃຫ້ ນັກລົງທຶນຕ່າງປະເທດສືບຕໍ່ການສຶກສາຄວາມເປັນໄປໄດ້ຂອງໂຄງການບໍ່ແຮ່ບົກໄຊ, ແຕ່ຍັງບໍ່ມີການຕັດສິນໃຈໃຫ້ສຳປະທານບໍ່ແຮ່. ລາວ ບອກວ່າ ລາວຕ້ອງການໃຫ້ລັດ ຖະບານຫຼຸດຂະໜາດຂອງໂຄງການລົງເພື່ອຮັບປະກັນແກ່ອຸດສະຫະກຳກາເຟລາວ ແລະ ບໍ່ແຮ່ບ໋ອກໄຊສາມາດດຳເນີນໄດ້ທັງສອງຝ່າຍ.  “ກາເຟສ້າງຄວາມຍືນຍົງໄດ້ຫຼາຍ ກວ່າບ໋ອກ ໄຊ. ບໍ່ແຮ່ອາດສ້າງລາຍໄດ້ ຫຼາຍໃຫ້ແກ່ລັດຖະບານແຕ່ບໍ່ໄດ້ສ້າງລາຍໄດ້ແກ່ຄົນທ້ອງຖິ່ນເພາະພວກເຂົາບໍ່ມີທັກສະເຮັດວຽກກັບບໍ່ແຮ່,ລາວກ່າວ. ລາວກ່າວວ່າ ປະເທດລາວສາມາດຫາລາຍໄດ້ຈາກການ ສົ່ງອອກກາເຟ ຖ້າຫຼາຍພາກສ່ວນ ຊ່ວຍກັນເພື່ອປັບປຸງອຸດສະຫະກຳ ແລະ ຮັບປະກັນການຄ້າທີ່ຍຸດຕິທຳລະຫວ່າງຜູ້ປູກ ແລະ ອຸດສະຫະກຳການຜະລິດ. ປັດຈຸບັນ, ຜູ້ປູກກາເຟບໍ່ທັນໄດ້ໃຊ້ເຕັກນິກທີ່ດີສຸດໃນ ການສົ່ງເສີມ ແລະ ໃຫ້ມີຜົນຜະລິດ, ແລະ ອາໄສວ່າ ສະພາບອາກາດເໝາະສົມໃຫ້ຜົນຜະລິດທີ່ດີ. ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ບອກວ່າ ມັນອາດຫຍຸ້ງຍາກໃຫ້ແກ່ການພັດທະນາອຸດສະຫະກຳການຜະລິດກາເຟລາວ ຖ້າຜູ້ປູກບໍ່ສາ ມາດສະໜອງວັດຖຸດິບໄດ້ຢ່າງໝັ້ນ ຄົງ.

Bauxite mine poses challenge for Bolaven coffee growers

Vientiane Times, April 26, 2012

Coffee plantation on the Bolaven plateau. Growers fear that large areas of coffee plantations will disappear if the government does not limit the size of a proposed bauxite mining project.

Large areas of coffee plantations will disappear if the government does not limit the size of a proposed bauxite mining project on the Bolaven plateau in southern Laos, an official from the Lao Coffee Association has told Vientiane Times. “Land officials conducted a survey and discovered that the proposed bauxite mine would encroach onto about half of the land that is currently under coffee cultivation,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous. “If the government does not limit the size of the area to be mined, I think about half of the coffee plantations will disappear.”

Affected citizens speak of land use problems caused by concessions

Tractors ploughing the land in the villages in Paksong, Champasak.

Allocating land to commercial investment projects can potentially offer improved access to services and expansion of employment opportunities for local communities. However, if environmental and social safeguards and natural resource governance systems are not fully in place the risk of negative impacts is high.

Two Lao language audio files are available to listen where affected citizens speak of problems they are facing after village lands were granted to concessions. Both files have been recorded  in a Lao National Radio (103.7) program.

Companies to explore mining and hydropower possibilities

Vientiane Times, February 9, 2012

The Phouphieng Mineral Export-Import Sole Company is teaming up with the Mekong Mining Company to study the possibilities for bauxite and potassium mining and hydropower in Laos. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Tuesday in Vientiane between Phouphieng Company President Mr Vilaysith Liumxayachak and Mekong Mining Company President Mr Andrew Kent. Officials from both sides attended, along with the Vice President of the National Science Council, Dr Maydom Chanthanasinh.

Government grants 4,700 hectares for rubber plantations

Another rubber concession has been approved despite concerns over the environmental impacts caused by industrial tree plantations. Photo from Sekong province; clearing land for a rubber concession.

Vientiane Times, January 3, 2012

The government has allocated another sizeable area of land for a Vietnamese firm to grow rubber trees despite concerns over the environmental impacts caused by industrial tree plantations. Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dr Akhom Tounalom on Friday signed a 40-year land concession for the Lao-Viet joint venture to grow rubber trees on 131 plots of land totaling 4,739 hectares. Senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment were present at the agreement signing in Vientiane.

Vietnamese investments in Laos in the spotlight

Viet Nam News, December 10, 2011

Numerous Vietnamese firms were investing in Laos in fields ranging from agro-processing to hydroelectricity, said Ta Minh Chau, Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos. Chau said investment from Viet Nam had increased rapidly in recent years. He said the total registered capital of Vietnamese businesses in Laos now stood at US$3.7 billion, making it the third largest foreign investor in the country.

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