Last year in November 2019, we launched our 3-year project Community Resilience and biodiversity conservation in Nakai District, Lao PDR.
Our overall aims:
To achieve this, we focus on village-level marketing and value chain strategy of native Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) and the management of their use by local communities.
All our activities are based in Thaiphaibanh village cluster (one of the three village clusters within the Nakai – Nam Theun National Park; cf. Figure 1), where villagers are the most reliant from natural resources for their daily livelihoods. Villagers from this cluster have also been identified as the most vulnerable in terms of food security and income (COTE, 2018).
Traditional handicrafts used and exchanged within villages have been part of the customs, including basketry (from bamboo and rattan), as well as broom making and flour mats made of pandan (Pandanus sp.) leaves. However, there has never been a village-level marketing and value chain strategy attempted.
Our project supports villagers in the development of their handicraft value chain strategy. It will not only provide alternative income to villagers but also promote, transmit and preserve their traditional knowledge and craftsmanship. Along the process, natural resource management is fully incorporated into the strategy to ensure sustainability and community awareness and ownership.
This first year (2019-2020), we have focused on:
Watch our short video presenting an overview of our first year of activities:
In the coming years, we will support and facilitate villagers in forming their handcraft village groups (from collection, to raw material processing, to crafting, and business plan management) and secure first contracts with traders to pilot the value chain process.
This project is being conducted with technical advise from CIRAD The Agricultural Research for Development to apply the Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovations Systems approach (a global partnership to make agricultural innovation systems more efficient and sustainable in meeting the demands of farmers, agri-business and consumers and help improve food security).
COTE [Consortium of Technical Experts] 2018. Socio-economic Assessment of the Nakai – Nam Theun National Protected Area and its Peripheral Impact Zones. Report prepared for the Nam Theun 2 Watershed Management and Protection Authority (WMPA). Vientiane, Lao PDR.