In the News: Laos: Forests destroyed for rubber farms
Foreign companies get permission to occupy and clear acres of land to grow rubber trees. But often take away the wood without creating rubber plantations. Thus they take from poor farmers what little they have to survive.
The Laotian authorities allow businesses to cut whole hectares of forest to create rubber trees plantations. But the poor peasants of the Mekong region are often left without compensation for the forests and lands that they cultivated and that were their only source of livelihood.
The farmers denounce that companies have only taken away hectares of wood without giving anything in return. Louna, village chief in Viengsai, in the southern province of Attapeu, told the Inter Press Service that in 2008 tractors and mechanical shovels arrived, felling entire forests and evicting poor farmers from the land they cultivated. The village protested to the authorities, but received no reply. Now many farmers are even deprived of the land to grow rice to eat.
In the zone around 60 hectares of rubber tree plantations were created, but they were not well cultivated, and for the most part have perished.