Eight bamboo producer groups organized and assisted by the project Biodiversity-Based Products (BBP) as Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection stepped up their skills in product marketing by successfully joining a trade fair held in Luang Namtha Province, Lao PDR from 13 to 20 March 2018. During the week-long trade fair, the groups were able to sell a total of 131 products worth LAK 9,800,000 (or USD 1,225) and also received additional orders from customers.
Since April 2017, the BBP Project has been working with communities from four villages in Luang Namtha province (Ban Sopxim, Ban Hadyong, Ban Sinudom and Ban Had Nalaeng) in establishing biodiversity-friendly value chains, aiming at supporting economic development and sustainable livelihoods as well as biodiversity conservation in the Nam Ha National Protected Area, an ASEAN Heritage Park.
These efforts led to the formation of eight bamboo producer groups in the four villages. Group members were trained in sustainable harvesting of bamboo for the production of furniture like tables, chairs, sofas, and shelves; as well as handicrafts like baskets, bags, mats, and tissue boxes. The area of Nam Ha National Protected Area has healthy bamboo forests, and as long as the villagers continue to practice sustainable harvesting techniques, they will have enough resources to support long-term production and livelihoods.
While earlier efforts have focused on harvesting and manufacturing processes, the BBP Project's value chain development approach recognizes the importance of enhancing the marketing aspect as well. Events like the provincial trade fair help the producer groups promote their products to more potential customers, establish new market linkages, and network with or learn from other producer groups.