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Laos Seeks Standards For Forest Product Development

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Laos is seeking standards for forest product development, including the production of traditional medicines, as the technology in this field lags behind that in other ASEAN countries.

The country’s experts revealed the need to Vientiane Times during the 8th meeting of the ASEAN Experts Group on Forest Products Development and the 19th meeting of the ASEAN experts Group on Herbal and Medicinal Plants held in Vientiane on August 1 and 2.

The two meetings were held ahead of today’s 19th Asean Senior Officials on Forestry meeting.

Deputy Director General of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, Dr Chansamone Phong-oudom, said “We have to continue the development of standards, for which several inputs are required such as land, labour, investment, and the improvement of livelihoods of farmers living closely to sources of raw materials and production facilities.”

According to Dr Chansamone, Laos is top among Asean member countries with regard to the sheer abundance of forest resources, with more than 80 tree species and more than 700 forest products in use.

Participants in the19th meeting of ASEAN Experts Group on Herbal and Medicinal Plants discussed research on medicinal plants that can be used for cholesterol and diabetes treatment as well as the standards of raw materials used in traditional medicine.

Director of the Institute of Traditional Medicine, Assoc. Prof. Kongmany Sydara, who chaired the Herbal and Medicinal Plants meeting, told Vientiane Times there are many other Asean countries that have an abundance of medicinal plants but their use is different.

He said the standards of the production facilities of traditional medicines in Laos are not as high as in other countries where plant classification is made through Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) identification.

“For example, you would not receive the same tissue culture collected from Savannakhet and Luang Prabang provinces without the species DNA identification,” he said.

Preserving medicinal plants was also among the topics discussed by the experts, who are concerned that many medicinal plants are at risk of extinction.

Assoc. Prof. Kongmany said Stephania rotunda could be found in the Dansoung forest near Huayxone Huayxua in Vientiane’s Naxaithong district in the 1980s but the species has now disappeared from the area.

Traditional medicine producers and associated private sector groups were also invited to the meetings to discuss the trade in traditional medicines.

According to these experts, Laos also needs help with human resource development in the herbal and medicinal plants sector.

 

Source: Vientiane Times