This project aimed to make the value chain of planted wood in the Lao PDR more efficient. This improved both the international competitiveness of Lao wood industries and the livelihoods of farmers and processing workers.
Laos has an emerging forest plantation industry. The timber industry has rapidly grown over the past three decades, based on both smallholder and corporate growers. The Lao PDR government envisages a substantial forest plantation estate, with 500,000 hectares of tree plantations by 2020. Plantations and planted trees can financially benefit Lao PDR and smallholder growers, but the export value of finished wood products is low compared with squared logs or basic sawn wood.
Many challenges, constraints and opportunities need to be addressed to maximise returns to smallholders and develop competitive value-added wood industries. Some elements of the value chain require intervention to increase returns to smallholders, wood processors and manufacturers. ACIAR research aims to make these elements more efficient.
The project built upon a previous project, FST/2005/100 Value-adding to Lao plantation timber products, which built capacity and enhanced the range, quality and value of manufactured wood products in Lao PDR.