Biggest Teak Nursery in Cambodia Funded by Denmark and Sweden

Running by American Daniel Mitchell and his team, Grandis Timber is a joint venture between SRP International Group and Danish and Swedish pension fund investors. The operation is the largest Teak Nursery in Cambodia.

Mitchell and his team identified an area that had been severely deforested in Kampong Speu in late 2007 and signed the contract for a 70-year economic land concession with Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture on December 31, 2009. The concession includes 9,820 hectares in the rugged hills of Kampong Speu which is being replanted with teak.

Today, the Grandis Timber operation, with three nurseries, has a total capacity of 9 million trees per year. So far, 2,250 hectares have been planted with 3.5 million trees, with another 3.5 million plantings scheduled during the next two years. The nurseries also plant native species which are used to reforest protected areas within the patchwork of mixed land use, private residences and farms.

Mitchell says Grandis Timber is looking for additional opportunities to keep the nurseries employed when the bulk of the planting is completed.

After ten years of growth, when the trees are expected to be 10 to 12 centimeters thick and 20 to 30 meters high, the first thinning will take place.

The thinned wood can be sold as poles and used in making furniture, parts and flooring and the first thinning is scheduled to occur between 2019 and 2024.

The unusual thing about Grandis Timber’s operation is the use of institutional funding from Denmark and Sweden, countries accustomed to investing in professionally managed forestry, which put the operation on a paying basis from the start.

An ancillary benefit for the investors is they get to help improve the lives of poor, rural Cambodians by putting them to work in the nurseries and in the timber plantation running tractors, weeding, thinning and doing other jobs necessary to the operation.

Grandis Timber’s operation in Kampong Speu employs 228 people full time and 1,600 day laborers. Mitchell has seen a great increase in the number of motorbikes people ride in the area, because of the injection of wages, nicer houses and other benefits to the local population.

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