European banks and investors are a major source of finance for large-scale destructive agriculture; forestry; and pulp and paper projects.
Mitr Phol Group, Asia's biggest sugar producer, has earmarked 3.5 billion baht to double production in Laos, fed by a plantation area in the southern province of Savannakhet.
Legislative changes now sweeping across Asia threaten to displace millions of peasant families, undermine local food systems and increase violent conflicts over land. Already, just six percent of Asia's farm owners hold around 66% of its farmland.
The head of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group, Doan Nguyen Duc, now owns 46,000 ha of rubber, 10,000 ha of sugar cane and 6,000 ha of corn in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar and plans to raise 236,000 cows in Laos.
Lao authorities granted the first ‘land as equity' project to a Chinese entrepreneur for a 10,000 ha plantation in Phonthong district.
Laos is to allow foreign investors to purchase land under a proposed law which some groups say would discriminate against locals and threaten national sovereignty.
Chinese investors are eying the potential of multi-million dollar investments in banana and other tropical fruit plantation projects in Saravan province, according to the provincial deputy governor.
Authorities of Quanzhou city in China’s Fujian province have expressed their interest in agricultural investment in growing rice and organic vegetables to supply the Chinese market.
Large-scale land leases in Laos are driven by foreign investment projects brokered between the government and private companies, which have increased in frequency in the past decade.
The Lao government has approved hundreds of thousands of hectares in concessions, but has yet to identify how many hectares of land investors have already used or whether they have followed their original proposals.
Rising tension over land seizures is emerging as a critical issue in Asia. An RFA special report examines the changing dynamic of Asia’s Great Land Grab.
A citizen video shows a rare confrontation between authorities and villagers in Bokeo Province, Northern Laos, where villagers gathered to block construction workers from digging up their rice fields for a Chinese investor.