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By: Dorji Wangdi, Ministry of Economic Affairs

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1 By: Dorji Wangdi, Ministry of Economic Affairs
Income from bamboo & cane handicrafts – cases from Bjoka, Silambi, Gongdue and Kangpara in Bhutan By: Dorji Wangdi, Ministry of Economic Affairs

2 Background information about Bhutan
Population 635,000; 69 % living in rural areas 23.2% of population below national poverty line of 0.7USD/ day Total area: 38’000 km2 72.5 % of land area classified as forest land

3 Bhutan Map

4 Bamboo and cane resources for handicraft production
Bamboo: Neomicrocalamus andropogonifolius – a climbing bamboo with flexible culms of 2cm in diameter Cane: Calamus acantospathus and C. latifolius Places: Kangpara, Silambi, Gongdue & Bjoka (several days walking from the road; characterized by high incidences of poverty) Resources are only derived from the wild Resources are managed according to a Community Forest management plan

5 Cane & Bamboo resources for handicraft production
Raw Materials Existing Products

6 Handicraft production & marketing
Traditional baskets (bangchugs) New products- based on external training in product development and market demands Marketing through community marketing group and sales centre in Zhemgang (Bjoka), and exhibition and fairs or mainly unorganized through middlemen

7 Challenges Isolated production areas, thus high transportation costs, difficult to access information (prices, market demands & trends), difficult to establish proper and stable marketing linkages, etc Unorganized markets leading to low prices for products Quality control Ensuring sustainable management of the resources with increasing demands for bamboo and cane Relative low production quantities as these bamboo & cane species grow only in some selected pockets in the country

8 Lessons learnt- resource management
Important to have a Community Forest management plan in place to ensure sustainable supply of resources and legal access Bamboo and cane resource assessment should be carried out in participation with local people- people will better understand and respect the outcomes Management prescriptions are best defined by combining local knowledge and technical inputs from foresters Good leadership of CF committee is essential to ensure proper resource management

9 Lessons learnt- marketing
Establishment of marketing group to coordinate marketing activities is essential: Communicate quantity and quality requirements from buyers to artisans Minimize transportation costs Agreeing upon time and place to sell products Setting and monitoring quality standards Determining standard prices for the products Marketing group should be officially established with tasks as above agreed upon in ToR Commission for marketing group members Proper record & book keeping essential (ensure accountability & transparency) Exhibitions are important to test new products and establishment of marketing linkages Labeling helps to show the origin and distinctiveness of the product

10 Lessons learnt- Product development
New Products Most popular products are (still) the traditional products If new product designs are introduced, they should: Have a clear market demand Not be bulky if production area is not accessible by road Be suitable to the skills of the artisans Weaving centres equipped with solar panels are important to increase productivity (artisans can work in the evening) but are also instrumental as meeting places to share ideas and experiences

11 Conclusion Importance to work along entire value chain including: resource management, product development and marketing. Production of bamboo and cane handicrafts play crucial role in the livelihoods of people Organizing resource and marketing has led in Bjoka to a doubled income compared to before the establishment of Community Forest and marketing groups

12 Thank you

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