An Mady Group announced on Sunday that it has begun growing bamboo and rattan in a plantation located in Tboung Khmum’s Ou Reang Ov district.
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Group chairman An Mady said initially 25 hectares are being cultivated, adding that the plantation will eventually expand to 10,000 hectares.
The company’s plans also include a processing facility to create accessories and furniture, An Mady told Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon during his visit to the farm on Sunday.
“Bamboo and rattan have great potential in this market,” he said, adding that the company will use yields to build furniture for the domestic and international markets.
The company’s announcement comes a few days after the Senate passed a bill establishing the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan.
According to the bill, about 40,000 hectares of land will be provided to encourage farmers to plant and process bamboo and rattan and create an international marketing network to market their products.
Minister Sakhon said the investment will help boost local production while curbing deforestation.
According to a statement by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) last month, international trade in bamboo and rattan is worth almost $2 billion a year.
INBAR, headquartered in China, is a multilateral development organisation that promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan.
Bamboo and rattan, the most valuable non-timber forest products in the world today, have a unique potential to combat poverty and natural resources challenges and provide a livelihood to millions of people across the globe, according to INBAR.
Sovann Piseth, from the Rattan Association of Cambodia, told Khmer Times on Monday that Cambodia presents favourable conditions for growing the plants.
He said the association is now working with 12 communities in three provinces – Koh Kong, Sihanoukville, and Kampot. Each community is composed of 3,000 to 8,000 families, he said.
“We have provided these families the training to create the products that the market demands,” he said.
He noted that these products are grouped in two categories – semi-processed products such as rattan cane webbing, rattan core, and rattan peel, and finished ones, which includes sofas, closets, hammocks, chairs, and beds.
Domestic buyers are mostly hotels, guest houses, restaurants, supermarkets, and furniture stores. The products are also sold in Vietnam and China, with the association hoping to begin selling in Japan and South Korea soon.
Mr Piseth acknowledges that rattan and bamboo production in Cambodia faces some challenges. Famers, who work using traditional methods, generally lack knowledge and technical skills, he said.