Twenty-one (21) species of rattan - an economical plant vital for Cambodian farmers in addition to their agricultural activities - are found across the country, according to WWF-Cambodia's report.
Rattan is one of the climbing palms that are extensively used for making baskets and furniture. There are around 600 different species of rattan worldwide, many of which have restricted natural ranges.
"In Cambodia, 21 species have been identified so far. Rattan is an important commodity in international trade and generates a significant amount of foreign exchange," said the report.
In Cambodia, rattan makes a crucial contribution to local livelihoods, and rattan canes are vitally important to farmers as they provide extra income in addition to normal agricultural activities. Forest encroachment and land conversion as well as over harvesting has put pressure on rattan resources, and rattan is now mainly located in protected area forests. Additionally, ineffective supply chains and unsafe production methods threaten the survival of rattan, its management and the future of the rattan industry.
Because of its economical potential, Rattan Association of Cambodia was established in 2009 with the participation of 11 small and medium Cambodian rattan enterprises, and a delegation and representatives from the Forestry Administration, the Ministry of the Environment, business enterprises, local and international NGOs, and other relevant institutions.
The Rattan Association of Cambodia is now working closely with government institutions, NGOs, handicraft, private sector, and rattan communities in five provinces: Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampot, Kampong Thom, and Preah Vihear Province.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press