From employee to company shareholder

Sitting before a computer screen in her office, the Deputy Managing Director of Burapha Agro-Forestry Company, MsSouphayvanhThiengchanhxay, 50, explains the importance of tree plantations in creating jobs and protecting the environment.
Eucalyptus and acacia trees have been planted on more than 4,000 hectares in more than 30 villages in Xaythany and Sangthong districts of Vientiane, in Paklai district, Xayaboury province, and in Phonhong, Hinheup, Keo-oudom, Xanakham and Meun districts in Vientiane province.
Thousands of villagers and more than 120 employees are involved in the company’s tree plantations.

Ms SouphayvanhThiengchanhxay.

Q: How do you monitor the project to ensure the company and the community benefit?
A: Staffers are regularly advised to work with the community to ensure that the trees are taken care of in line with the project’s policies. Villages that participate in the project benefit from a seven-year rotation scheme that works like this: Year 1 – planting of trees and rice; Year 2 – planting rice when suitable due to shade from the trees; Year 3-7 – cattle grazing; Year 4 – thinning operations; and Year 7 - clear cutting of trees and restarting the cycle. This is followed by the farmers’ normal cycle of shifting cultivation. The wood from the eucalyptus and acacia trees will be made into chairs, tables and other furniture to be sold in Laos and exported.
Q: How do you select the land for planting trees?
 A: The company carefully selects the area to grow trees to ensure that biodiversity is protected. The land use needs of the community should be respected. This means the company and land owners will sign an agreement for tree plantations over 30 years.
Q: How does the company intend to expand the project?
 A: The company plans to expand its plantations to 5,000 hectares and start plywood production in the second phase. It also aims to continue expanding plantations to 15,000 hectares in the third phase, and then to 60,000 hectares of eucalyptus and acacia and building a pulp-mill in the fourth phase of the project.
Q: What is your experience in the business?
 A: After graduating from secondary school in Bokeo in 1988, I studied forestry at the intermediate level in Germany and graduated in 1991. I began working at Burapha Agro-Forestry Company in 1991. I worked in the finance division for 20 years.
Realising the importance of education, I decided to do a bachelor degree in finance and graduated in 2012. I then worked in the marketing section of the company to increase sales of its products.
Q: How did you become a shareholder of the company?
 A: After gaining a lot of experience by working in the company for many years, in an honest and diligent manner, the Swedish investors agreed to let me become a Lao shareholder in 2011, with a 5 percent stake in the company. The Swedish shareholders hold the remaining 95 percent.
Q: What is the background of the company?
 A:  The Lao-Swedish joint venture began operating in Laos in 1989 and was committed to a sustainable and community-focused approach to operations.
The company strongly supports the Lao government’s goal to alleviate poverty in remote and rural areas through agroforestry, sustainable development, long-term improvement, and by ensuring families have surplus cash income by improving housing, livestock consumables and food security. The first plantation was established in 1990.
In 2011, the Swedish investors came to Laos to conduct a large survey for a eucalyptus and acacia plantation.
In the same year, Silvicapital bought Burapha Agroforestry and created a beneficial arrangement of Silvicapital’s financial strength and forestry knowledge combined with the local network and knowledge built up at Burapha over the years.



By Times Reporters
(Latest Update June 07, 2018)

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