Congratulations, it is an eye opener to other states that are thinking of such schemes.
In Hyderabad, the government...
Thanks. You have raised a very pertinent issue. My family is a great lover of Makhana and we use it in different ways. Slowly...
TWO large-scale forest projects slated to
begin this year, aim to focus on Laos'
forest resources more extensively. The
projects - the World Bank's (WB)
Forest Management and Conservation
Project (FOMACOP), and the Asian
Development Bank's (ADB) industrial
tree plantations - are being criticised
for posing serious ecological and social threats.
The FOMACOP is a forest-aid package
comprising a WB loan of us $8.7 million
for forest management, a us $5.8 mil-
lion grant from FINNIDA (the Finnish
Development Aid Agency) and a us $5.6
million grant from the Global
Environment Facility (GEF).
Under flak from international environmental groups and Laotian forestry
officials since its inception two years
ago, the WB'S final decision to approve
funds was delayed four times until
March 1994. Meanwhile, the plan
underwent some revisions particularly
the clause proposing the removal of tariffs on log exports. International environment groups claimed that tariff
removal would actually hasten timber
extraction and accelerate deforestation in Laos.
Currently, there is a 1990 ban on log
and sawnwood exports in Laos, but finished wood products export is allowed.
The ban was issued following the interference of Thai loggers into Laotian
forests after Thailand closed its forests
to logging concessions in January 1989.
FOMACop aims to introduce "scientific and sustainable logging" in natural
forests to make existing logging more
efficient and to control illegal logging.
Current logging policy in Laos allows
timber extraction from the potential
reservoir areas of four large dams,
accounting for 400,000 cu rn over four years.
In an interview with the Bangkok-
based Nation newspaper, director of the
watershed management unit of the
Laotian forestry department, Chanthaviphone Inthavong, said that Laos, for
the first time, will have a forestry management plan, instead of the usual
According to Chanthaviphone,
Laos' land use policy targets a forest
cover increase from the present 47 per
cent of the total land area to 70 per cent
ofthe total land area. Ofthis, 12 million
is alloted for timber production, and
2.8 million ha for fast-growing tree plantations.
NGOS claim that the ADB project
would place farmers in debt since they
will be encouraged to take hefty loans.
Although there is a grace period ofseven
years before the loans are repaid, the
farmers will remain cash-strapped and
land-less in the meanwhile. Moreover,
70 per cent of the loan is for the government to re-lend to the private sector and not the farmers.
But the ADB project mission leader,
Marshuk Ali Shah, stated that the project would "bring into productive use
unstocked/degraded forest lands which
are currently unoccupied and largely
underutilized and offer little other alternative use."
Premrudee Daoruang, working with
a regional environmental group in Laos,
states, "Forest conservation in Laos
must begin with the farmers and local
people dwelling in forest areas as they
know their ecosystems and depend on
them for their livelihood."