Lao rattan industry gets certified to access the global market



Posted on 27 June 2011  | 
Vientiane – More than 90 percent of rattan processed in the Greater Mekong originates from natural forests that are being depleted at an unsustainable rate. Rattan collection is an important source of income for many communities in Laos. FSC-certification increases the incentives to protect forests from conversion and other unsustainable land use.

The Leudnilan Agriculture Promotion Co., Ltd received last month a Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody (FSC CoC) certificate with the support from the WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme. This certificate shows that the company has a proper production chain that ensures sustainable traceability and legality of rattan products.

The WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme has been promoting sustainability and market links in Laos since 2006 by working with government authorities and communities to link local rattan forests to the global rattan market.

“Lao rattan companies need to switch their conventional production methods to a more systematic, documented, and innovative process,” said Bouaphet Bounsourath, WWF Sustainable Rattan Project Manager. Sufficient documentation of in-flow and out-flow in rattan production shows efficient processing and facilitates access to the global market.”

Together with NAFRI and DoF, WWF supports Lao communities and companies and expects Laos to be the first country in the world to obtain an FSC Forest Management certificate for rattan products.

“An FSC Chain of Custody is a good first step toward to show the world that rattan products can be sustainable,” said Nancy Gephart, CoC Officer, WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme. “Now Leudnilan, needs to source from FSC certified forests as well, which will allow her to bring FSC rattan products to international market.”

Such a certification is an incentive for communities and forest managers as they receive a higher income from selling FSC rattan to CoC companies compared to non-certified companies.

“If we compare the new rattan model to seasonal jobs we have had in the past with what we are doing now we can see a big difference,” said Mr. Kensy Milamith, vice village head of Thaveng Village, Bolikhamxay Province. “We used to earn a few hundred thousands kips per month, but now when we weave baskets and sell them to the Leudnilan company, we can earn more than 3 million kip per month.”

“We’re so glad that WWF is supporting rattan companies to towards certification,” said Ms. Kongkham Leunilan’s owner. “For almost one year, the company has been adapting, changing, and improving production practices to follow the FSC CoC guidelines.”

Laos currently exports raw rattan to its neighbouring countries, particularly Vietnam, and is aiming to be seen as a global leader of sustainable and certified rattan exporter among traders, global retailers, and consumers.

The project is co-funded by the European Union (EU), the international home-products retailer IKEA and the German development finance institution (DEG).
Sustainable rattan weaving generates more income to communities and encourage rattan companies to switch to sustainability.
© N.Promsouvanh Enlarge
Mr. Kensy Milamith, vice village head of Thaveng Village, Bolikhamxay Province, is proudly to tell about his income earning from weaving rattan basket.
© N.Promsouvanh Enlarge
These baskets await to be checked at QC process at Lak 20 rattan warehouse.
© N.Promsouvanh Enlarge

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