FEATURE: Agricultural development entrepreneur seeking to benefit from gov’t guidelines

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Phanphet Agriculture Development Co., Ltd, better known in short as Phanphet Co., Ltd, is now set to take advantage of clearer policies and guidelines of the Party and government to improve their business operations.

As a promising agriculture development company, the Hadxaifong district based enterprise is committed to continuing its long-term experience in the field of agricultural development by using more advanced technology and modern farming tools.

In addition, the company is also expected to establish a more transparent business structure in line with the Party and government policy and guidelines.

The company began its pilot activity and business as a developer and provider of rice seeds and rice production in 2008, on 30 ha that it owned. Another 10 ha was used for the construction of company buildings and an agricultural training centre.

The company’s Chairman Thongsavanh Meeboun told Vientiane Times recently that his company was doing business under the guidance and laws of the government as well as upgrading its management system so it was more transparent.

“In 2008, our company began an initial project for the expansion of rice seedlings by using some modern machinery in the planting process, and since 2011 we have been entirely dependent on the use of more advanced tools for our agricultural development project,” he said.

Not only does the company have its own plot of land, in the 20012-13 fiscal year an additional 300 ha was cultivated by local rice farmers from five villages in Hadxaifong district, Vientiane.

“Our company signed deals with farmers and the company initially invested in various farming projects, while the farmers contributed the land and labour. At harvest time, our company bought their produce at agreed prices signed by both parties,”  Thongsavanh said.

Currently, the company has a total of 1,000 ha of crops being contributed by farmers from 14 villages within the district. “The strength of our company is the use of more advanced agricultural equipment, and we are equipped with professional skills in rice planting and animal breeding activities,” he said, saying that his company was also intending to move forward alongside local farmers.

Thongsavanh explained that local farmers naturally possessed rice farming skills but many of them failed to gain access to markets. “In our project, we encourage farmers to grow rice along with raising fish, frogs and other commercial animals because they have a larger plot of land so that they can earn extra income and have their own food security,” he said.

In one of the most interesting projects, the company distributed over 6,000 sweet coconuts seedlings to rice farmers who can grow the trees on their empty land and sell the fruit to the company afterwards.

Last year, the company received a certificate from the government to recognise it as the best model in the use of the advanced farming tools.

“Another important policy of our company is to promote on-the-job training. This means providing professional training courses for more than 1,000 people who are in engaged in our contracts,” he said.

With the government trying to promote the development of agricultural products as well as modernising agricultural techniques, Thongsavanh is now confident that his 30 years’ experience in this sector will enable his company and his contract farmers to become more successful in this promising project.

“We only want the government to help in promoting stable and sustainable markets as well as buying overloaded yields if the crops or yields have produced a large quantity at once,” Thongsavanh said, adding that this would help farmers to survive.