Thai company eyes cassava, oil palm investment in Laos
Vientiane Times | 2 September 2011
A Thai company will conduct studies on investing in cassava and oil palm plantations in Vientiane province to increase commercial crop promotion and trade between the two countries.
The government signed a Memorandum of Underst anding (MOU) on Wednesday in Vientiane with RTL World Trade Company of Thailand to survey land and conduct a feasibility study for cassava and oil palm plantations, as well as building a processing plant in Hinheup district, Vientiane province.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Mr Thongmy Phomvixay and Company Manager Mr Taripat Thonlertpimol signed the MOU.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Office Deputy Head Mr Khamphan Meuansithida, Deputy Governor of Vientiane province Ms Singkham Khongsavanh and the company's Consulting President Mr Pakaphon Bootsing witnessed the agreement.
“To expand the company's business, we need more land for agricultural production and a processing facility so that we can meet the market demand for products,” Mr Taripat said.
The company is currently cultivating different types of commercial crops including sugarcane, cassava and oil palm to process for sale and export.
The new project in Vientiane province will follow the government's “3+2” investment policy. Under this policy, RTL World Trade Company will provide seedlings and equipment and train producers in farming techniques while farmers provide the land and labour, Mr Taripat said.
The company wants to grow about 50,000 hectares of cassava and oil palms in Vientiane province.
Mr Taripat believes the project will help to increase farmers' incomes and improve their living conditions in line with the government's development plans.
According to a report from the provincial agriculture section, a Lao company and the Indochina Group - through the 3+2 system - have already planted about 3,000 hectares of cassava in Vientiane province .
While the province has supplied land to the company, most of the farmland is leased through agreements with individuals, said section Head Mr Lamphone Khambounheuang.
The section's technical staff has surveyed almost 50,000 hectares of land in Keo-oudom, Phonhong and Hinheup districts to assess potential, he said.
Farmers in the province are already growing sweetcorn, cassava and soybeans for sale and export.
Thailand is the third largest foreign investor in Laos after Vietnam and China, and has funded 276 projects worth US$2.68 billion.
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