People in Khamkeurt district, Borlikhamsay Province have called for the continuity of the Rattan-Bamboo Harvesting and Production Project as it has brought them better living standards.
Ms Chay Lathsombath, a beneficiary of the project, has witnessed numerous changes since the project was introduced to her community in 2006.
The project has created jobs and helped villagers generate more incomes by engaging them in farming and exploiting rattan and bamboo using sustainable techniques.
The project provides comprehensive training to local people teaching them how to plant rattan and bamboo, manage inventory, harvest, split and weave rattan and bamboo that can be sold domestically and exported to foreign markets like Thailand, Switzerland, Sweden and the US.
I’m proud of the product I have made. Prior to the introduction of WWF project, I didn’t know how to make rattan baskets. Now, making rattan baskets is my main job, said Ms Chay.
The WWF project helped train us local people and encouraged us to take on the job that today provides me and my friends with sustainable source of incomes, added Ms Chay.
Since 2006, WWF has partnered with local villages, provincial governments, and corporations across Laos to address and combat environmentally destructive practices.
With support from IKEA, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the WWF-led project provides alternative livelihoods for communities, helping to alleviate pressure on forests while empowering communities to effectively manage natural resources.
WWF’s project in Bolikhamxay is just one example of larger efforts in the Greater Mekong region to establish a sustainable rattan supply chain from natural forests and to support communities by creating alternative livelihoods from non timber forest products (NTFPs).
We focus on strengthening local livelihoods by building villagers’ capacity to develop alternative sources of incomes and to manage their forests sustainably. And our approach is simple: people first, said Boavanh Phachomphonh, project manager, WWF-Laos Rattan & Bamboo.
Rattan is a naturally renewable palm plant that grows in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia.
Commonly used for furniture, building material, crafts, and more, it’s a non-timber forest product (NTFP) that’s relatively easy to grow and harvest.
In Laos, where 80% of rural people’s livelihoods are dependent on agriculture, rattan has become an invaluable commodity that’s now part of a global trade that generates USD 4 billion per year.
Source: Lao News Agency