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

Posts Tagged ‘sugarcane’

Rubber price crash forces farmers to sell farms

Vientiane Times, 21 Oct 2014

Some Luang Namtha provincial rubber growers have decided to sell their plantations after the price of rubber has gone way down. Others have destroyed their plantations and switched to growing other commercial crops such as bananas and sugarcane, the provincial domestic trade section head, Mr Sawaeng Sivilay, told Vientiane Times yesterday. The huge drop in the rubber price this year has discouraged farmers in the province from growing the tree, he said. Some farmers have even chosen to sell the land on which they have planted the rubber trees, asking about 20 million kip a hectare when the trees are between two and four years old and around 30 million kip a hectare when the trees are nearly ready to tap, Mr Sawaeng reported.
Many growers are not expected to continue with this business despite the general understanding that the price will go up again in the next few years.
The raw rubber price in the province had risen as high as 15,000 kip/kg in 2010 but by the beginning of this year it had halved to 7,000-8,000 kip/kg and is now only just over 4,000 kip/kg. About 60 percent of rubber growers are keeping their plantations and stockpiling the rubber waiting for the price to go up again but 40 percent have had to sell because they can’t survive that long without income.
The drop in price here simply reflects the situation in the world market, according to Mr Sawaeng. The management of rubber production and pricing is limited as farmers can only sell to four buying companies in the province because they are legal investors approved by the government. Most of the rubber gets exported to China but the Chinese government has limited its import quota to 2,000 tonnes per year or 500 tonnes a company, Mr Sawaeng said. The quota has been imposed because the Chinese government wants to protect their own local rubber growers, he added.
Lao government representatives, in particular those from the provincial Department of Industry and Commerce, have approached the Chinese authorities with a proposal to raise the quota of the rubber goods but no answer has yet been forthcoming. To help solve the problem, the department last year encouraged rubber growers to set up a cooperative for price negotiation and to help each other get through the price crisis, Mr Sawaeng said. But some of the group’s members have had to sell their rubber at the very low price as they don’t have any other choice.
Luang Namtha, one of the northern provinces in Laos, contains the largest rubber plantations in the country with the majority of the investors being Chinese companies. The province has about 30,000 ha of rubber.
In recent years the product has helped improve the living conditions of local families working with the companies and selling their produce as well as contributing to provincial economic development and poverty reduction.

Saravan limits land concessions for agriculture

Vientiane Times, January 9, 2012

Saravan province has agreed to allow domestic and foreign investors to set up projects under the ‘two plus three’ system, which does not involve land concessions and is of direct benefit to farmers. Under this system, the investor provides funding, materials and technical support to farmers, who provide the land and labour required, provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department Deputy Director Mr Thongdy Chanthavong explained recently.

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.

Vietnamese group starts sugar project in Laos

Tuoi Tre News, November 22, 2011

Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group started work on the construction of a US$100 million sugar and sugarcane industrial cluster in Attapeu province, southern Laos on November 22. The cluster includes a sugar mill with a capacity of 7,000 tons per day, a 30MW thermal power plant, an ethanol plant with a capacity of 30,000 tons per year and a fertiliser plant with a capacity of 50,000 tons a year. These facilities are expected to create 20,000 jobs for local people when they are put into operation.

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