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Buarapha Agroforestry greening the nation

Burapha Agroforestry Company Ltd, a Lao-Swedish joint venture operating in Laos, is to plant 600 hectares of eucalyptus and acacia in the capital and two provinces to celebrate Arbor Day (June 1).
The company is also preparing one million seedlings for its projects in Vientiane and provinces of Vientiane and Xayaboury, along with others for government organisations to celebrate the special day.

Local people prepare eucalyptus seedlings before distributing them for planting.

Recently, the company announced plans to set up a modern bio-refinery facility and plywood mill in Vientiane province to supply finished timber products for the domestic and export markets. Planting these trees will also support raw materials for its proposed facility. It also needs local people and authorities to cooperate to take care of the trees as they will also benefit.
Chief Executive Officer of the company Mr Martin Forsen recently told Vientiane Times that “Today we have currently planted only 3,000 hectares of eucalyptus, teak and acacia on the allocated plantation. We also plan to further extend to reach our next step where we require 60,000 hectares of land for industrial tree plantations.”
“When we have 60,000 hectares of land, then we will be able to start to build a pulp mill which will have a large investment of US$800 million. This pulp mill will be the largest mill and is more profitable than other sectors like mining, tourism, and hydro power and it will provide benefits to our farmers,” he said.
He explained that one mill could create over 40,000 direct and indirect jobs mainly in rural areas, while the government would also receive US$30million from exports each year.
He believed it was one of the best projects of its kind in the world, which had the least impact on the environment, while planting trees could capture carbon.
“We have good technology and can make products cheaper.”
“I worked for over ten years in Sweden where I had experience in plywood mills. So, we have money to build a pulp mill, and the knowledge to receive support from the government and people. We just need to get the land now to plant our trees,” he stressed.
He said that agro forestry has a land-use system in which timber plantations were integrated with farm crops on the same land and it offered significant environmental, social and economic benefits. Seven-year rotation plantation operations were conducted in cooperation with participating villages, with the space between tree rows provided for community agricultural activities.
Rice and other crops were grown during the first years of plantation establishment and then livestock could graze until harvesting the trees after seven years and then the cycle restarts.  Proven agro forestry systems in combination with funds for rural development strongly supported the government goal to eradicate poverty in remote areas.
Mr Martin noted “Laos has high rainfall, good climate and good soil, which is good for our trees to grow up faster.”
The company’s Deputy Managing Director Ms Souphayvanh Thiengchanhxay said that “Arbor Day is an important date to plant our trees in cooperation with authorities and local people.”
This year they would create activities for districts in the capital and two provinces with primary school students planting mostly eucalyptus, teak and acacia seedlings, she said.
“Our company is providing seedlings to state organisations and we hope they will have measures to take care of them.”
“Last year, we planted over 1,000 hectares mostly on the land of local people. If they have good land we can pay them 40 million kip for ten hectares over 30 years. For one hectare we pay 3 to 4 million kip with the trees belonging to our company, while local people can plant their rice between our trees,” she added.
She explained that on one hectare they were able to plant 1,100 eucalyptus trees. After they grow for seven years they can be cut and later cut again 3 times every three years before replanting.
For the first to second year local people could plant rice and then from the third to seventh year local people could raise their cattle, she added.
Burapha was established in 1993 in Laos and is one of the oldest private companies in the country being the first to establish commercial plantations in Laos and today considers itself a world leader in agro forestry.
The company’s objective is to build timber plantation assets that are large enough to supply major forest industry operations producing biofuels, green electricity, green chemicals, plywood, sawn timber and kraft and or dissolving pulp using the plantations as a renewable resource.
The company exports its products to Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Poland, Russia, America, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and Thailand, while some are also sold in Laos.
Most of the company’s plantations are in the capital as well as Vientiane and Xayaboury provinces.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
May30,2017 )

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