Lao BKN increases material support for charcoal industry
Lao BKN Company, a white charcoal producer, planted more than 1,000 additional mai tiew (Cratexylon prunifolium) trees in Vientiane on Friday to increase raw materials for exporting its white charcoal.
Lao BKN Company Director, Mr Bounoum Phanthapanya said Japan needed around 1,200 tonnes of white charcoal each year but the company still found it a challenge to provide enough raw materials to supply the demand.
The company can only export 50-60 percent of the market demand. Consequently, the company has continued cooperation with the Army in Pakngum district, Vientiane to plant and maintain additional mai tiew trees which will help ensure future sustainable export supplies for the charcoal industry while also generating income for the Army.
According to a Lao BKN Company report, in 2007-2008, seven families in Thaphabath district, Borikhamxay province began growing, protecting and maintaining mai tiew at the start of the project.
Since then the company has expanded into different provinces such as Savannakhet, Saravan and Vientiane as well as the capital.
Each year the company provides funds for mai tiew farmers and their families to promote the sustainability of the project and increase forest growth, following the government’s strategy to increase forest cover to 70 percent by 2020.
Presently, under the mai tiew project, the company encourages local residents to grow or restore mai tiew trees on more than 1,331 hectares across the country under a so-called two-plus-three policy.
The two-plus-three policy is a government initiative which encourages investors and land owners to partner on and develop projects such as industrial tree plantations.
Fundamental to the policy is a framework where farmers must provide land and labour while investors provide the funds, technical support and a ready market for the product.
Mr Bounoum added that planting mai tiew trees also helped locals to earn a sustainable income because they are able to sell directly to the company, which processes the white charcoal.