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Behind every rattan product that is crafted in Cambodia lies a rich story that entwines farmers, forests, and traditional skills that are passed from one generation to the next. The Rattan Association of Cambodia is making sure that this story persists, for the benefit of the Cambodian rattan industry, buyers, and the millions of people worldwide who enjoy the pleasure of rattan furniture and crafts.
Rattan is vitally important to farmers, providing extra income in addition to their normal agricultural activities. In some villages, rattan sales account for up to 50% of cash income. This makes this industry a major contributor to keeping people out of poverty.
In Cambodia, rattan is found across the country and mainly in protected forest areas, e.g. Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, and Siem Reap provinces.
As of 2011, 14 rattan species have been recorded in Cambodia, 12 of which have potential for sustainable management: Calamus erinaceus, Calamus godefroyi, Calamus palustris, Calamus viminalis, Calamus rudentum, Calamus salicifolius, Daemonorops jenkinsiana, Calamus tenuis, Calamus sp, Myrialepis sp, Plectocomia sp, Korthalsia bejaudii.
Despite the strong potential offered by rattan in Cambodia, the industry faces some challenges such as a lack of skilled staff and environmental impacts from the industry. It is such issues that the Rattan Association of Cambodia is seeking to address in order to develop the rattan industry without threatening the country’s forests.