Laos exports first green rattan products to EU market
WWF’s rattan project, co-funded by the European Union, IKEA and DEG has been promoting sustainability and market links since 2009. The main objective of the project is to set-up sustainable rattan forest management models in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia and to engage rattan small and medium enterprises towards cleaner production mechanism.
In collaboration with its partner, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), who supports SMEs to export, WWF has been supporting Lao rattan SMEs to participate in both regional and international trade fairs. The fairs have been a great opportunity for the SMEs to learn more about international market requirements and design trends. Furthermore the rattan processors and buyers could meet and get a first impression of the product portfolios.
Sourcing rattan from villages which apply sustainable forest management is important to ensure that natural resources will be available in the long-term – therefore we need the commitment of national and international buyers to source sustainable products, Mr Bounsourath emphasized.
A purchase order was done in March 2011 via Leudnilan Agriculture Promotion Co., Ltd. that engaged with 7 villages to produce 2,640 sets of sustainable rattan baskets. Leudnilan is the only rattan company in Laos that presently holds a Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody (FSC CoC) certificate. Leudnilan hired 120 villagers to produce these rattan baskets and exported them under supervision of LNCCI.
“We want to support rattan products from sustainable rattan management areas and help the communities which are involved in forest management. That’s why we have ordered these baskets from Laos for the Swiss retailers,” said Ms. Fennie Ng, EuroGroup’s Senior Merchandiser.
“Working with a company which has no exporting experience is very challenging,” said Kongchan Douangsongkham, General Secretary of Bolikhamxay Provincial Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Rattan companies need guidance with international exporting matters such as packing, documentation, transportation etc. The experience and lessons learnt will now help Lao SMEs to handle future international orders, Mr Doungsongkham stressed.