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Modern Machinery, Technical Skills Needed to Improve Wood Processing

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Modern machines and technical skills are required to enhance the competitiveness of the Lao timber processing industry in line with other countries in the region.

Chairman of the Okawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Japan, Mr. Yuji Sonoda made the observation during an interview withVientiane Times yesterday.

Laos is still quite rich in forest resources but it can be observed that the country has lost more than it gained from timber exports in the past, he noted.

Laos must increase the value of its wood products by processing and converting timber into finished products before exporting them in order to generate advantage from it.

However Laos still faces challenges as the country lacks modern machines and technical skills to enhance the quality of its wood products so it is very important to develop labour skills to boost the competitiveness of the Lao timber processing industry in line with other countries in the region.

The Okawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Japan last year signed an agreement with the Department of Industry and Handicrafts under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in relation to a human development project for Lao wood processing.

The Okawa Chamber is cooperating with the Vetsaphong Skills Development and Testing Centre to implement the project.

We selected the Vetsaphong Centre as its administrators have concentrated on labour skills development in Laos, Mr. Sonoda said.

He suggested that more Lao technical staff should be sent to train in Japan so they will be able to enhance their skills and bring knowledge and lessons to use in Laos.

More than 50 Lao students and technical staff have gone to train in Japan during the project implementation over the past two years or so and there are plan to receive more students to train in Japan in the future, he added.

Mr. Sonoda explained that Okawa city has many years of experience in producing wooden furniture and its technical team has been to teach workers in China, Vietnam and Thailand to produce better products before coming to teach students in Laos.

Vietnam and China produce high volumes of wood products at low prices but their quality is only average and the market for these types of products is shrinking.

So we will teach Laos to produce quality wood products that can be sold to medium-income people in Japan, he said.

Okawa Chamber of Commerce and Industry plans to jointly produce Lao and Japanese wood products in the hope of exporting them to ASEAN countries and Japan and enable Laos to export processed wood products to Okawa city.

However we still need more funding to support this project, Mr. Sonoda added.

The Vetsaphong Skills Development and Testing Centre and Okawa Chamber will host an exhibition of the furniture that students have produced on Thursday September 8.

Source: Vientiane Times