Tree plantations bring much-needed facilities for rural communities

The living standards of villagers in some parts of Savannakhet, Khammuan and Saravan provinces have gradually improved since the Stora Enso Lao Company has established tree plantations in these areas.
Some villages are now enjoying a better quality of life after the company provided them with basic infrastructure and facilities and being granted a 50-year land concession to plant eucalyptus trees.
This project is taking place in Nong and Xepon districts of Savannakhet province, in Ta-oy and Samuay districts of Saravan province, and in Nakai district, Khammuan province.

A Stora Enso Lao Company-built artesian well for a village that participates in the project.

Before going ahead with the project, managers asked local villagers what they needed to improve their lives, and some people asked that electricity be installed.
Others said they wanted better roads so they could travel all year round, while some villages asked for clean water to be provided. Other communities wanted a dispensary to be built so that basic health services could be provided.
Most of the villagers’ requests have since been met by the company but Khoun village in Xepon district, Savannakhet province, is still waiting for an artesian well to be built. The company hopes to achieve this and has made plans to install a clean water system in the village.
Through the project, the company not only provides these kinds of facilities but also creates job opportunities for villagers who take care of the tree nurseries set up by the company.  
So far, the company has planted more than 3,000 hectares of eucalyptus trees in the three provinces, although this does not meet Stora Enso Lao’s goals. Their aim is to plant eucalyptus on 35,000 hectares over 10 years.
Mr Bounmy Keobounheuang, a project senior official says 7,779 families in five districts of three provinces have benefited from the project since it began in 2007.
In the future, Mr Bounmy plans to plant trees on 35,000 hectares in order to supply wood to a plywood factory that is expected to be built soon.
“The project provides jobs for families by employing them to tend to the tree plantations. In addition, rice and vegetables are grown amongst the eucalyptus and villagers are allowed to graze their cattle in the plantations. These factors enable families to live above the poverty line,” he said.
Deputy Governor of Nong district in Savannkhet province, Mr Keo-oday Souvannae, said he was pleased to learn that people’s quality of life in Padiengyai had gradually improved since the Stora Enso Lao Company established a tree plantation in their community. This was largely because they could now grow sufficient rice for their needs on the tree plantation. People were also able to make money by taking care of the trees planted under the project. He acknowledged that it was a win-win situation with benefits for everyone involved.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update July 7, 2018

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