Those interviewed estimate that the percentage of their businesses related to latrines (for example, concrete rings for the pit) is on average 36% but there is wide variation across the provinces (see Figure 8). The importance of latrines to their business may be related to the number of concrete producers in each area shown in Table 2. For example, there are more concrete producers in Salavan than in Attapeu and Sekong. However, Savannakhet and Borikhamxay have similar numbers of concrete producers yet they have very different levels of latrine work.
Concrete producers’ fortunes are directly linked to the construction industry in the surrounding areas: in certain districts, given the low level of construction activities, their services (as well as masons’) are not continuously required. This is why in remote districts (such as Ta-Oy and Samoi) the market size does not allow concrete producers to have a steady flow of work: the limited demand and the low level of construction development determine that they work only on request.
Figure 8: Average percentage of concrete producers’ business related to latrine construction (n=37)
Note: as estimated by the businesses interviewed.
Around 43% of the concrete producers surveyed have other business activities. However this percentage varies significantly from region to region: in the Northern region only 33% reported having additional revenue streams, in the South 43% and in the Center 50%.
Table 10: Other business activities for concrete producers (n=37)
Concrete producers are more likely than material suppliers to rely on only one business for their income. That is, construction material suppliers are more likely to have other businesses than concrete producers. This may be because material suppliers are more entrepreneurial and/or have better access to capital with which to open other businesses (access to capital is discussed in Section 9). Or it may be that concrete production requires greater investment capital, or because making concrete products involves more specialized skills.
Concrete producers with other business interests are most likely to be involved in construction (leveraging their skills and contacts) or own a retail shop (Table 11). They are also involved in selling furniture, and some sell stone and sand (possibly surplus inputs from producing concrete products).
Table 11: Types of other businesses activities by concrete producers (n=37)
Concrete producers started their business mainly with their own capital (68%), a percentage similar to construction material suppliers. Only 8% of the total sample started their business only with a loan from a bank (Table 12). Finance and borrowing is discussed in more detail later in this report.
Table 12: Source of capital – concrete producers (% of total) (n=37)
Region – Province
Where did you obtain the money to start your business?
In terms of supply chain flow, concrete producers throughout the country mostly sell directly to individual households. The role played in their business by construction companies or NGOs is negligible in comparison. The values are not homogenous across regions, where construction companies seem to play a bigger role in the North (17% of the total customer) than in the Center (3%) and in the South (9%) — similar to what was found for construction material suppliers. NGOs play a role in certain provinces (e.g. Savannakhet, Bokeo, Salavan) but seem to be not consistently present in others (Borikhamxay, Attapeu).
Table 13: Customers of concrete producers (average of reported %) (n=37)
The overwhelming majority (86%) did not receive any training for their business. Percentages are very similar in the three different regions; however, Bokeo and Salavan districts have the highest percentage of trained concrete producers (17%).
Table 14: Concrete producers who have received training (n=37)