The first stage of a project to establish a $500 million organic dairy cow farming complex started in the Lao province of Xiengkhouang late last week.

Financed by the Lao-Jagro Development Xiengkhouang Co (Lao-Jagro), in which Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) holds a 51 per cent stake, the first phase will cost $120 million. It will cover 5,000ha and house 24,000 dairy cows. Once operational, it will generate thousands of jobs for local residents.

The second stage will span between 15,000ha and 20,000ha and will be home to 100,000 cows.

Thanks to its favourable natural conditions, Xiengkhouang province could become a milk capital of Laos and the region by leveraging hi-tech agriculture, Vinamilk director-general Mai Kieu Lien said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Lien said the farm would open possibilities for the agriculture and dairy sectors and the economies of both Laos and Vietnam.

Secretary and Chairman of Xiengkhouang Province Bontone Chanthaphone said the work would fuel economic growth and improve farmers’ expertise and incomes.

In Vietnam, Vinamilk owns 12 farms with 130,000 cows. It holds about 59 per cent of the domestic market share, with high potential for further development.

Along with developing its place in the domestic market, the company has expanded the sale of its products to other countries. VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK