The proposed project builds on the ACIAR project FST/2005/100 Value Adding to Lao Plantation Timber Products (VALTIP), which was completed in January 2011. The aim of this project was to enhance the range, quality and value of products produced from plantation grown timber in Laos, in particular from plantation eucalypts and teak. Underpinning objectives were:
- To improve timber recoveries through development of enhanced but appropriate timber processing, drying and manufacturing methods and systems.
- To broaden wood product design options by testing and adapting new technologies.
- To develop appropriate quality control procedures.
This project made significant achievements in enhancing local capacity in timber testing and processing and facilitated improvements in the range and value of wood products in nine wood manufacturing enterprises. ACIAR management identified that there was an opportunity to exploit the networks developed under the previous project and use its achievements to provide significant support to the Lao PDR through the development of a new ACIAR project. Therefore a Scoping Study (C2010/101) was funded by ACAIR (Midgley et al 2011) which identified major constraints and opportunities for R&D across the value chain for plantation-grown wood in Lao PDR. The key elements of the value chain which require intervention to increase returns to smallholders, wood processors and manufacturers were identified and these were used as the foundations for developing this project proposal.