About 50 participants in the Lao Teak Forum: Sustainable Teak Value Chains for Sustainable Local Development reviewed opportunities and challenges for sustainable teak value chains in Lao PDR in the workshop organised at Vansana Riverside Hotel, Vientiane coinciding with 2nd PSC Meeting of the ITTO Teak Mekong Project, “Enhancing Conservation and Sustainable Management of Teak Forests and Legal and Sustainable Wood Supply Chains in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region” (ITTO PP-A/54-331)” now under implementation in the five participating countries viz., Thailand, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Cambodia. The forum was co-organized by ITTO in cooperation with Lao PDR’s National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) and with financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It was convened on 19–20 February 2020. A field excursion was also arranged by NAFRI to Luang Prabang province on 20th February after the Teak Forum in Vientiane.
Teak is a native species in Lao PDR, with natural teak forest covering an estimated 68,500 hectares. Moreover, teak plantations established by the private sector and rural communities cover about 36,000 ha, mainly in the provinces of Luang Prabang and Boeko. According to forum participants, the creation of smallholder teak groups will enable the integration of farmers into supply chains for higher value-added teak products.
Mr. Bounchanh Lattanavongkot, Deputy Head of Forestry Provincial Office, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR
Prof. Tek Maraseni, University of Southern Queensland, Australia and Mr. Vongvilay Vongkhamsao, NAFRI
Mr. Thongsavanh, President of Lao furniture association a teak producer’s organization/ teak company
Country presentations on sustainable supply and value chains of quality teak timber in Lower Mekong
Chairman: Prof. Tek Marseni, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
Cambodia: Ms. Sopheap Lim, Forestry Administration
Myanmar: Mr. Than Sint, Forest Department, Myanmar
Thailand: Dr. Nikhom Laemsak, Kasetsart Univeristy
Vietnam: Dr. Tran Lam Dong, Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences (VAFS)
Lao PDR: Dr. Latsamy Boupha, National University of Laos
Panel Discussion: Sustainable teak value chains in Lower Mekong Region
Chairman:Dr. Hwan-ok MA, ITTO, Japan
The Lao Teak Forum participants noted that smallholder teak plantations have the potential to be a driver of sustainable development in the lower Mekong by improving the livelihoods and landscapes of rural communities. If a smallholder receives technical support and a modest fund under secured land tenure and supportive policies, teak plantations can be well established for their sustainable livelihoods. The forum drawn up the following key recommendations.