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Photo of six men and a woman standing in a bamboo forest

From left to right: Le Cong Cuong (PPMU), Le Thi Tien (LASUCO), Bui Huy Hoang (DOFA Thanh Hoa), Vu Hoang Diep (LASUCO), Nguyen Van Lam (LASUCO) and Tran Chinh Khuong (USAID/Vietnam)

January 2016

For sustainable bamboo management and harvesting, Thanh Hoa Province is looking beyond Vietnam’s Green Growth Strategy (VGGS) to implement a new partnership with Lam Son Joint Stock Corporation (LASUCO).

When it comes to the VGGS, political will and international support set Thanh Hoa apart from other provinces, according to Mr. Le Cong Cuong, Director of Provincial Forest Protection and Development Fund. “Green growth is crucial to our province,” he said. “Where other provinces aren’t in such a hurry to switch paths, our provincial government has made green growth a priority, so we have a huge political commitment. We are also fortunate enough to have the support of U.S. Vietnam Forests and Deltas (VFD) and Low Emissions Asian Development (LEAD) programs, which have helped us move forward.”

Beyond government buy-in, Thanh Hoa discovered a not-so-new business partner in LASUCO, the sugar giant that helped bolster Thanh Hoa’s economy to what it is today. LASUCO has been in the province for 30 years and generates $80-100 million USD per year in gross income.

 “Bamboo is more than green growth, it’s green gold. . .” said Dr. Nguyen Song Hoan, Director of Thanh Hoa’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

Thanh Hoa has the greatest potential for bamboo development in all of Vietnam, but the markets for it are weak as is the technology used to process it. The value chain for bamboo has not been fully developed yet.

In partnership with technical experts from VFD, LASUCO developed a multifaceted business plan to kick start bamboo markets in Vietnam, which focuses on both teaching sustainable harvesting practices and heavy investment in new processing and facilities. The company plans to invest a total of $15 million USD including a new bamboo processing plant and creating a bamboo park, which will be used to conserve multiple varieties of bamboo species and showcase state-of-the-art bamboo products.

Thanh Hoa holds 29,000 hectares of planted bamboo largely under household management. The province plans to expand plantation areas to 100,000 hectares by the end of 2015 utilizing degraded areas that are suited for bamboo growth. Currently, the province produces approximately 25.6 million stems per year, but experts estimate the annual production could rise to 64 million stems if proper management systems and harvesting methods are applied.

If combined with sustainable harvesting techniques, bamboo forests can sequester significantly more carbon than traditional forests due to its ability to grow back within 3 to 4 years after harvest.

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