The World Wildlife Fund Laos (WWF-Laos) and the Professionals for Fair Development, in cooperation with the Forestry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, held the first National Bamboo and Rattan Value Chains Forum in Vientiane Capital on Nov 16.
The meeting aimed to initiate multi-stakeholder dialogue on the potential of, and challenges to developing a bamboo and rattan value chain action plan in the Lao PDR and to set up a consultation group and roadmap for the development of the action plan.
The meeting also contributed to implementing Forestry Strategy 2020 that aims to contribute to increasing forest coverage and poverty eradication by 2020 through the development of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) value chains, especially for bamboo and rattan.
The specific objective is to create an enabling environment and develop a national bamboo and rattan value chain national strategy and action plan, taking the experience and lessons learned in the field in the provinces of Huaphan, Bolikhamxay, Bokeo, and Vientiane.
The forum is the first of its kind on the topic, meaning it is an open space for multiple stakeholders to exchange opinions with active participation from farmers from Huaphan, Xieng Khuang, Champassak, Bolikhamsay, Bokeo, Vientiane, and the private sector engaged in processing and marketing, both nationally and abroad.
“We see a lot of potential in non timber forest products in general, and particularly in these two products, for the development of small holder farmers and the fight against poverty, particularly in mountainous areas,” said Martin Hasler of SDC – Swiss Development Cooperation.
“Producer organisations are an essential element of the development of local capacities, good management of natural resources, and generating income for development of the village as well,” said Hasler.
He said that the development of local, national and international value chains would also provide employment and income for a lot of SMEs, including local transformation units in villages and small towns.
“We encourage women to take advantage of these opportunities to develop their own sources of income and play an active role in the communities and producers’ organisations,” said Mr Hasler.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been supporting for many years development of the NTFP sector through various projects and programs, including TABI, WWF, and GRET.
“We will continue supporting this sector and particularly the development of a national bamboo platform and strategy, in cooperation with DOF and with our operational partners,” said Mr Hasler.
Source: Lao News Agency