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Rattan production to be made more sustainable

Rattan production to be made more sustainable

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090309_05_1.jpg

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SOVANN PHILONG

A furniture dealer in Phnom Penh’s unofficial rattan row on Sothearos Boulevard, where multiple shops make rattan furniture to order, shows off a table made with rattan palm wood.

THE emblematic Southeast Asian rattan palm is soon to be protected under a new WWF project that aims to make the industry more sustainable and more "green", the global conservation body said Thursday.

The cane, which is used throughout Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to make popular wicker furniture, has been overexploited throughout the region, leaving villages that rely on the trade vulnerable, WWF said.

"At the moment, rattan resources are decreasing because of overexploitation. The implementation of sustainable harvesting and cleaner production will provide long-term livelihood security to local people," Thibault Ledecq, rattan program manager at WWF's Greater Mekong Program, said in the statement.

The US$3 million project will give economic incentives to communities, government bodies and industries to conserve forests. It will also target small businesses to make them clean and safe manufacturing points so as to allow them to compete in the global market.  

"By the end of the project, at least 40 percent of targeted small and medium enterprises in the supply chain will be actively engaged in clean and safe manufacture of rattan products, and 15 percent will export sustainable and environmentally friendly products to Europe and worldwide markets," the statement said.

Although Vietnam exports the majority of finished products, most of the pre-processing takes place in Cambodia and Laos. 

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