A Chinese company has signed an agreement with Lao authorities to study the prospects for development of 5,000 hectares of land in southern Laos’ Attapeu province, raising concerns among residents that investors will take more land over time, destroying local livelihoods, Lao sources say.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on April 7 allows China’s Jia Run Company to carry out feasibility studies over the next six months on the land in Attapeu’s Sanamxay district, a provincial official told RFA’s Lao Service.
“The Chinese have already come several times to explore a large lot of land along the border with Pathumphone and Paksong districts,” the official working for Attapeu’s Agriculture and Forestry Department said.
“They plan to plant trees with commercial value, like eucalyptus, durian, and jackfruit trees,” the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The agreement signed in the capital Vientiane between the president of Jia Run and Khamchanh Vongsaenboun, Lao vice-minister of planning and investment, allows the Jia Run Company now to invest up to one billion yuan (U.S. $152 million) to develop the project, according to state media reports.
The company also expects to employ 50,000 Laotians and build 20 schools and 20 health centers for local communities, state media said.
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Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Richard Finney.
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