Lao State Fuel Company
The Eucalyptus plantation programme commenced in 1990/91 and 152 ha are planted; the intent is to develop 1,000 ha a year from 1994 to establish 5,000 ha by 1994-98. Particular attention is required to obtain good provenance seed and genetically improved planting stock. Fire hazard is noted as a constraint and other problems faced are funds sourcing, market security and fair prices.
Key words: Eucalyptus, Lao, plantation, improved stock, fire, funding, market, pricing.
I am very glad to take part in this meeting concerning the utilization of Eucalyptus in the Asian and Pacific Region. I hope that this meeting will highlight and improve awareness of the various factors, good and bad, in the utilization of Eucalyptus, and I trust that the discussion results and findings will be widely published. As a representative of the Lao Fuel Company to this meeting, I would like to exchange experiences with you and learn from you, and collect valuable knowledge and information on eucalypts for my company.
The plantation programme of the Lao Fuel Company started in 1990 with planting of the two following areas:
Ban Nakhok, Xaythany district, Vientiane Prefecture. The area is 62 ha and spacing of planting is 2m x 3m. Planting was done during April and September 1990. This plantation site, a single large block, is under a 25 year lease concession agreement (from 1990-2015). To protect the plantation against forest fire which is most serious during the dry season, a firebreak around the plantation boundary has been made by the management centre.
Ban Viengkham-Champa, Sikhothabong district, Vientiane Prefecture. The area is 90 ha, and spacing of planting is 2m x 3 m. Planting was done during April and August 1991. This area is owned by the company under a land title issued by the District Governor for our permanent use.
In evaluating the progress of these plantings over the past 3 years, it is noted that the Eucalyptus trees have been growing very fast and the appearance of 75% of the trees is very healthy. This means that the trees planted are appropriate to this region and are tolerant of insect and fungi attach. They look also suitable for the soil types of planted locations.
The budget to assist this work in the past has come from the companys own fund. Up to now, all maintenance costs of these plantations have been met by the company. To summarize the plantation expenses up to June 1993, the company has invested about US$200,000, including buying equipment and land lease costs. In the future management and planning policy of the company, however, the company will not be able to provide a large amount of fund for this forestry programme. Therefore, an access to bank loans at a reasonable interest rate has become a crucial factor. We have planned to develop plantations from 1994 at about 1,000 ha per year. Our master plan for 5 years is to reach 5,000 ha planted (1994-98). We need access to loans of US$1,465,000 per year or in 5 years about US$7,325,000 excluding interest.
In the future, we hope to have good facilities for improving the working conditions and future employment. The main lessons that we have learned so far include that:
We need good facilities for the plantation maintenance work; and
It is necessary to have equipment for site preparation and nursery work.
The crucial factors to solve main problems encountered are:
To have a basic financial support in long term and low interest rates;
To secure the market for products and fair prices; and
To have genetically superior planting materials and best suited provenances for planting.
Through this meeting, I really hope to learn many new things on eucalypts, in particular how to access to financial support, its availability and conditions. This is the most crucial factor for the company to achieve its long term objectives being aimed in the work plan. Finally, I wish that all participants will be greatly benefited from this meeting for improving their own programmes and activities.