Support to WWF rattan initiative: "Sustainable rattan and bamboo supply chains in the Lao PDR”

Maintaining high biodiversity in agro-ecosystems contributes to poverty reduction in rural livelihoods. Better knowledge, tools and institutional arrangements are needed to support poverty alleviation and preserve biodiversity. Considering the current development context in Lao PDR, WWF supports the conservation and sustainable economic use of rattan and bamboo, aiming at improving the livelihood of upland farmers and enhancing the policy environment.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural development
Agricultural land resources
01.08.2017 - 31.03.2021
CHF  440’000

Lao PDR is considered a “mega-bio-diverse” country where ABD is a key source of food and income security especially for the rural poor in the uplands. The country is undergoing a rapid tran­sition and sees a continued economic growth, with a GDP growth of around 7% for 2016 and 2017. Agriculture remains the main income source for nearly 70% of the population. The Government has determined agriculture development as a priority and has established guidelines to shift from subsi­stence agriculture to market-oriented agriculture. As a result, the access to non-timber forest products (NTFPs) such as rattan has come under pressure, also because policies lack a clear framework for NTFPs. The challenge is how to adapt the Lao farming systems to meet the national development goals – incl. poverty reduction – and to provide an attractive alternative to industrial commercial crops.


Forest-dependent communities have improved livelihoods through equitable access to land and forest, participation in the management of, and the sustainable use of rattan and bamboo resources, and through a more conducive policy environment.

Target groups

Direct beneficiaries are:

  • 1’500 households, organized in producer groups in 27 villages
  • farmers’ organizations
  • 13 Small and Medium Enterprises and / or traders having activities in marketing and processing
  • 5 Community handicraft groups
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Department of Forestry (DoF), National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI)
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE)
  • Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC)
  • Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Offices (PAFO)

Indirect beneficiaries are:

  • 3’342 households living in neighboring forest-upland communities
  • private sector development actors
  • projects involved in agrobiodiversity, land use planning and policy development
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: By 2020, a bamboo and rattan policy framework is developed in the Lao PDR to enable a growing FSC-certified rattan and bamboo business that benefits local livelihoods.

Outcome 2: By 2020, communities are empowered to sustainably manage forests rich in rattan and bamboo in target villages.

Outcome 3: By 2020, rattan and bamboo producers, processors and traders have gained the capacity to match international standards and promote FSC products internationally, regionally and locally.


Expected results:  

  • A rattan and bamboo provincial strategy is developed in Bolikhamxay province.
  • The bamboo and rattan national strategy is drafted.
  • A draft national standard for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is developed for Lao PDR.
  • Land use planning and zoning in target communities is reviewed.
  • Capacity of communities to enforce standards, manage and protect forest resources is improved.
  • Communities and families have expanded and/or established rattan / bamboo nurseries and plantations, and are benefiting from their production (income or consumption).
  • Small enterprises or traders have contracts for sourcing and doing business with target communities.
  • Global and regional business-relations for FSC-certified rattan and bamboo are established.
  • Community handicraft groups show a level of capacity demonstrating competitiveness.

Results from previous phases:  

From 2013 to early 2017, through a partial action within the AgroBiodiversity Initiative (TABI) project, SDC contributed to WWF’s rattan activities. This contribution aimed mostly at building capacity of rural farmers in rattan / bamboo production, forest management and development of commercial links (f.ex., rattan baskets produced in Laos can be found on Coop supermarket shelves in Switzer­land). During these four years, the project has managed to directly assist 4’954 rural farmers and ensured the sustainable management of 28,688 hectares of forests, including 10,949 hectares of FSC-certified forests using the land use planning approach developed by SDC’s TABI project. Moreover, at national level, the project initiated the development of a draft national strategy for the rattan and bamboo value chains (in collaboration with GRET, RECOFTC and TABI) through the creation of a multi-stakeholder platform. At the end of this project cycle, activity results and partnerships are highly positive, but the project shows important needs for further support to strengthen and sustain the developed activities.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • WWFInternational

Other partners

Individuals and entities involved in agrobiodiversity, forest management, farmers’ organization and value-chain development and policy dialogue.

Coordination with other projects and actors

TABI, GRET bamboo initiative, LURAS, RECOFTC, MRLG, NAFRI, SIDA, IKEA foundation and private sector.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    440’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    382’831