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Sustainable bamboo & rattan supply chain development

Forests form a vital ecosystem that provides multiple services. Lao PDR still harbours 9.7 million ha (source FS2020) of natural forest, containing a rich biodiversity. The key riches of the Lao forest are reflected in the high diversity of non-timber forest products (NTFP), which play an important role in the social, cultural and economic livelihoods of rural people. Indeed, NTFP provide 9.2 % of GDP (source J. Foppes 2010). Food from the forest provides a balanced diet containing many nutrients including carbohydrates, important sources of calcium, iron, high quality protein, and vitamins A and C (source Lao NTFP Manual). Natural forests and NTFP add “resilience” to the livelihoods of villagers, who face uncertainty because of fluctuations in the market value of their main produce, and the extreme effects of climatic change. Within this context, SNV, GRET and WWF, in partnership with the National Forestry and Agriculture Institute (NAFRI) and Provincial and District Authorities, support local communities developing the NTFP sector as a vehicle for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. This paper illustrates how NTFPs, in particular bamboo and rattan, contribute to the national socio-economic growth of Lao PDR, especially for the poorest members of society, and provides suggestions on potential measures and themes for further attention and action. Such actions to be implemented in line with the Ministry of Agriculture Strategic Direction 2011- 2015 toward 2020 that propose to continue on sustainable use of forest resources (commercial forests), promote use and development of biodiversity resources, promote individual and community forest product development.