One fundamental reason for illegal logging is that forestry is the only source of income in many rainforest regions, and families there have been exploited. Asia Plantation Capital believes that the introduction of sustainable plantations is the answer.
Ecologically Friendly and Ethical Practices
At Asia Plantation Capital, we aim to be both eco-friendly and ethical. We employ local labour in all our plantations and pay well above the annual wage rate in all countries in which we operate. Staff work eight-hour days with ample rest periods, and in Sri Lanka we provide them and their families with free land to grow their own food. We also offer employees finance to help purchase their own homes or improve their existing accommodation. Currently semi-skilled labour in Sri Lanka is deserting the land because of low wages and lack of long-term prospects, but we at Asia Plantation Capital provide both above-average wages and a minimum one-year contract of employment.
Intercropping and Pesticide Minimisation
On all our plantations we minimise the use of pesticides and chemicals, and our policy is only to use them if there is no alternative. We also operate a system of intercropping on the plantations, which is the planting of crops in between the trees during the early years to help provide cover and protection. The process introduces nutrients into the soil, which in turn help the trees develop whilst also providing revenue and food for employees. This method is now widely utilised in ethical plantations all round the world. The cover crops we grow include peppers, chillies, gliricidia (a leaf protein) and carrots. All surplus food crops are sold in the local markets, providing extra income for our plantation workers.
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation Teak Planting Project
APC is one of the sponsors of the “HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation Teak Planting Project” that was held in honour of the King of Thailand’s 84th birthday anniversary. This project aims to plant 8.4 million teak saplings across all Thailand’s rural villages in honour of the King, allowing the teak trees to grow for the future benefit of the villages and rural communities.
APC is committed to sponsoring one village each month over the forthcoming year as part of this project, with an estimated cost of USD 6,190 (202,400 THB) each village. APC may eventually become one of the largest single benefactors of this scheme in Thailand. APC has already sponsored two villages last month, in Nakhon Nayok and Khao Yai National Park. The real benefit of this programme lies with the children who will be the generation that benefits from the future commercial value of the teak trees and the financial support these will provide to their communities.
APC has made a notable beneficial impact on the rural villages. Along with employment and a regular monthly salary, APC has also built houses on plantations to house employees. Providing the opportunity for families to stay together in one area helps to ensure the benefit of an on-going education for their children (which will have a tremendous impact on their future) and allows many, previously split and impoverished families the chance, through their own hard work and efforts, of assuring a considerably better start for the young ones. APC also provides medical insurance and full back up facilities for all their employees and families.
APC has played a part in helping students by donating school uniforms and new computers to Ban Najan School, Sakon Nakhon. The donation of new computers has helped revitalise the IT Department of Ban Najan School. With a fully equipped IT Department, the students from Ban Najan School can now benefit from the full operating software and specialist educational programs. APC has also donated football and team sports kits furnished with the APC logo to the local sports teams.