ODOP certification for bamboo producers around Nam Ha ASEAN Heritage Park

On February 8th 2019, an awarding ceremony was held for the first One District One Product (ODOP) certification in Luang Namtha district in Northern Laos. The ODOP certification was given to the bamboo producer groups of Sin Oudom village, one of the target villages under the ASEAN-German cooperation project called “BBP” which is piloting biodiversity-based value chains in pilot sites in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.


Lao bamboo weave

Local villager participates in sustainable production of bamboo handicrafts

It is a very important step in the biodiversity-based value chain, which helps to promote bamboo products in the bufferzone of Nam Ha National Park as it will create a channel for pro-poor market access for the bamboo producer groups. This certification is a recognition of the hard work of the local communities on sustainable production of bamboo furniture and handicraft and of the continuously improved quality of the bamboo products as a special product of Luang Namtha district.

Lao bamboo productsProvincial and district offices of Agriculture and Forestry as well as Industry and Commerce in Luang Namtha worked closely together to assess the bamboo products for certification according to the criteria developed by MoIC Department of Trade Promotion and Product Development for awarding the One District, One Product (ODOP) label. The ODOP label ensures certain quality control and the special characteristics, which symbolise local products. Most importantly, the raw materials to be used in the manufacturing process should be sourced locally and should be planted, raised and naturally grown under systematic protection and management – this goes hand in hand with the criteria for the development of biodiversity-based value chains under the BBP project. In addition, the production and design should be unique and related to local culture and the fine traditions of Laos. To ensure legal protection, the owner of the products will appear on the registration of the trademark with the relevant government sectors to identify the uniqueness of their products as well as avoid product imitation.

The “Biodiversity-based value chains as an economic source for the improvement of livelihoods and biodiversity protection” - or in short “BBP project” - is a ASEAN-German Cooperation project, funded through the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) through GIZ. On behalf of the German Government and in close cooperation with the respective national governments in the 03 pilot countries of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, the BBP Project is implemented in cooperation with the ACB (ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity) in the Philippines by GFA Consulting Group GmbH.

             Nam Ha bamboo products

The main objective of the BBP project is to balance the need for economic development of local people living around protected areas and the better protection of the national parks and their rich biodiversity. To fulfill this objective, selected biodiversity-based products, or biodiversity-based value Chains, shall contribute to the improvement of livelihoods and protection of biodiversity.

Biodiversity economics and conservation merged in training program for government officers in Cambodia

Cambodia Training program Oct2018

Cambodia Training for Facilitators, October 2018

Aiming to link the seemingly-clashing concepts of economic biodiversity-based value chains and biodiversity conservation, the Biodiversity-based Products (BBP) as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection project organized a three-day training for facilitators in Hotel Steung Siem Reap in Siem Reap City, Cambodia.

The event, which was conducted from 3 to 5 October 2018, gathered representatives from the Ministry of Environment (MOE), specifically from the General Secretariat for the National Council for Sustainable Development (GSSD), and the General Directorate of Local Community (GDLC) as well as participants from the Provincial Department of Environment (PDOE) and the Phnom Kulen National Park Management team. A Deputy Commune Chief was also in attendance.

The value chain expert invited to lead the training, Ms. Rita Pilarca, focused on biodiversity value chain development. The activities designed for the event aimed for the local government partners’ understanding of the basic concepts of biodiversity value chains, and the basic functions and actors in a biodiversity value chain and end markets for the biodiversity-based products.

Different aspects along a value chain were highlighted, such as value chain upgrading strategies and implementation plan; the importance of business linkages and improving the business environment through regulations and policies; and monitoring the biodiversity value chain.

The BBP project in Cambodia focuses on the development of two value chains — black ginger, and vine or climbing fern handicraft. During the training, the participants were divided into two groups: black ginger group and vine handicraft group. Each group had to use their respective value chains for the training exercises.


Phnom Kulen officer

Deputy Director of the Ranger Office of Phnom Kulen National Park Suos Sakhann (middle),

with Value Chain Expert Ms. Rita Pilarca (left), and BBP Cambodia Project Coordinator Ms. Moniratana Mao (right)

Suos Sakhann, Deputy Director of the Ranger Office of Phnom Kulen National Park, cited that the “three-day training is a very good mechanism to provide knowledge and skills on biodiversity value chains and market linkages for our government team at the ministry, provincial department, and PKNP levels in the environment sector to carry forward the implementation of the BBP project.” He emphasised the continuous support to the biodiversity-based value chains, “as the project already helped to establish market linkages for the community people in the Phnom Kulen National Park, we commit that after the project finish, we will continue to support the local communities to carry on these value chain activities as well as expanding this strategy to other villages in the PKNP areas.”

Biodiversity-based value chains aim at supporting local communities in the buffer zone of protected areas to sustainably generate income from natural products, while supporting the rich and important biodiversity of the Phnom Kulen National Park. The government sees the BBP Project as a pilot project that enables the Cambodian MOE to draw upon experiences and lessons learned on the biodiversity based value chain for contribution to the biodiversity policy development and poverty reduction.

Vine/Climbing Fern Handicraft Products become secondary income of Villagers in Phnom Kulen National Park

The biodiversity-based products (BBP) value chain project, supported by the German Government through GIZ, implemented by GFA Consulting Group in collaboration with the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB) at regional level and the Ministry of Environment in Cambodia, aims at establishing a vine handicraft value chain. The Cambodia-BBP project supports a target group of 21 villagers in Thmey village (Phnom Kulen Vine Handicraft Group) for additional income generation through vine handicraft and for enhanced biodiversity protection around PKNP.

Phnom Kulen Vine Group

Phnom Kulen Vine Handicraft Group Formation

Phnom Kulen Vine Handicraft Group members are improving the vine handicraft techniques and skills on three types of vines/climbing ferns for handicraft design and weaving products. Under the Cambodia-BBP Project support, the Angkor Handicraft Association (AHA) is subcontracted to provide training to the villagers on vine handicraft techniques and skills and a range of designs and products.


Training on Bracelet

Training on making bracelet & napkin rings

The Phnom Kulen Vine Handicraft Group members will be continuously strengthened in vine handicraft weaving activities for making handicraft products, such as bangles, rings for napkins, baskets, trays, etc. for selling to AHA for additional income. AHA is connected to other whole sale and retailers for further delivering these handicraft products to the final consumers.

Mrs. Sorn Tha, a member of the Phnom Kulen Vine Handicraft Group, expressed that “I will use my handicraft weaving techniques and skills for making other handicraft products from other types of vines or similarly to rattan, for earning more incomes for my family.


 Bracelet Napkin Rings

Napkin rings & bracelet

Black Ginger products become secondary income for Phnom Kulen mountain people


                                                                                 Phnom Kulen National Park


                     Black ginger cultivation                                   Mr. Somnang while planting black ginger in his home garden 

For centuries, people across Southeast Asia have considered the black ginger (Kaempferia parviflora) an important plant used in traditional medicine and as food supplement. In Cambodia, two villages in the Phnom Kulen National Park are working to continue enjoying benefits from the plant while also protecting its wild sources.

Phnom Kulen National Park was established as a national park in 1993. It is located within the World Heritage Site of Angkor in Siem Reap province, and is approximately 40 kilometres northeast of the famed Angkor temples. The park is an important archeological site, hosting ancient treasures such sculpted riverbeds and caves, ancient hydraulic structures, and 1,200-year-old temples.
In Cambodia, Phnom Kulen is considered as a sacred mountain with great religious, cultural, and archaeological significance. Local communities visit this holy site daily to pray, leave offerings, stroll through the park, or hold picnics next to the waterfalls. Phnom Kulen is also a biodiversity-rich area with a complex environment. It is the source of the Siem Reap River and a critical part of the upper watershed catchment for Siem Reap Province.

The 37,373-hectare park hosts a population of 4,565 people comprising 990 families. Approximately 10 per cent of the park is agricultural land, where villagers grow cashew nuts as their main cash crop. In addition, they also raise livestock and produce upland rice, cassava, and beans.
Black ginger used to grow abundantly in the area, but continued exploitation started to threaten this abundance. As a result, over the past several decades, people have been cultivating the plant in their home gardens for their own use as well as for additional income. Their home gardens are small, measuring 200 to 300 square metres, and black ginger is usually grown with other crops under fruit trees such as bananas, coconuts, mangoes, and lychee trees.

The Biodiversity-Based Products as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection, or the BBP Project, supported efforts to develop a viable black ginger value chain to benefit families in the Anlong Thom and Thmor Chrunh villages. With the project's assistance, a black ginger group was formed in these villages, called the Kulen Angkor Prateal Thleum Chhke Group.
The BBP Project supported the group on improving the whole black ginger value chain — from cultivation, harvesting, processing, packaging, labeling, and marketing. The group developed two products that are now being marketed under their own label — black ginger tea and black ginger powder.

Black ginger has been the subject of increased scientific interest in recent years. It is said to help treat various ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Some of the other benefits traditionally attributed to this plant are the following:
• Regulates blood circulation
• Increases energy
• Stimulates nerves
• Stimulates testosterone production
• Enhances male sexual functions
• Nourishes the prostate gland
• Reduces triglycerides
• Serves as allergy and inflammatory medication
• Antioxidant effects
• Anti-obesity effects

The black ginger value chain development provides additional income to the families of the 31 members of the Kulen Angkor Prateal Thleum Chhke Group. It is also intended to help restore the abundance of black ginger in the wild, and reduce other forms of exploitation on the natural resources of the Phnom Kulen National Park.


                                                                              Black ginger flower and Rhizome

                               Sliced black ginger to be processed as tea 



Viet Nam participants undergo training on biodiversity-based value chain development


Sectoral participants of the BBP Project’s Training of Facilitators on Biodiversity-Based Value Chain Development led by Dr. Nguyen Xuan Dung of BCA (standing, third from right) with BBP Project Value Chain trainer, Ms. Rita Pilarca (seated, third from right).

Personnel from Viet Nam’s Biodiversity Conservation Agency (BCA) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), along with staff from Hoang Lien National Park and Ba Be National Park and representatives from the academe and the private sector, convened in Hanoi, Viet Nam for a Training of Facilitators on Biodiversity-based Value Chain (BBVC) Development.

The event, which was held from 6 to 7 July 2018, aimed at improving the competencies of the national partners in biodiversity value chain development. Specifically, the training targeted to build the participants’ capacities from setting out selection criteria for biodiversity-based products, value chain mapping, upgrading strategies, to monitoring of impact.

Ms. Rita Pilarca, the invited value chain trainer, provided the participants a perspective of the functions and actors across the value chain to enable them to sufficiently provide support in specific areas of developing a value chain-based enterprise for biodiversity-based products.

The training was conducted based on the training needs assessment conducted earlier by the project Biodiversity-based Products (BBP) as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection to address individual needs in each of the project´s partner country. It was found that BBVC development is a relatively new approach, aiming at supporting community-based enterprise for economic development, while at the same time strengthening biodiversity conservation efforts. To address this, the BBP project is currently piloting BBVC in two ASEAN Heritage Parks in Viet Nam: Ba Be National Park and Hoang Lien National Park. The biodiversity-based products promoted in Viet Nam are honey, the medicinal vegetable Bo Khai, Giao Co Lam or medicinal tea, and medicinal bath herbs. 

Reps from government offices, traders, learn from Luang Namtha Villagers on Bamboo Value Chain

Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and its provincial and district counterparts in Luang Namtha joined participants from the District Office of Industry and Commerce (DOIC), the Bamboo Traders Network (BTN), Bamboo Traders Association (BCA), National Handicraft Association, and four bamboo producer groups from the Nam Ha National Protected Area for a two-day workshop and learning visit on biodiversity-based value chains in Luang Namtha Province, Lao PDR.

The event, which was conducted from 25 to 26 July 2018, aimed to enhance the knowledge of the different stakeholders about the concept of biodiversity-based value chains and biodiversity-based product development. Practical examples of the lessons learned from the Nam Ha National Protected Area bamboo value chain were taken up during the event. The said value chain is piloted under the project, Biodiversity-based Products (BBP) as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection.

Khamnoui Chanthalasy, Deputy Head of the Village Forest and Non-Timber Product Management Division at the Department of Forestry, emphasized that they “will support and promote biodiversity value chain development in other villages,” citing the notable achievements of the BBP Pilot Project in the Nam Ha National Protected Area, particularly in
improving the productivity of communities and in enabling them as stewards of conserving biodiversity.


The workshop provided an introduction to the biodiversity-based value chain learning modules which were developed for further use by the ASEAN Member States. Scoping biodiversity-based products and their potential for added value, strengthening of different stakeholders and steps in a value chain, market access, and enabling business environment were some of the concepts tackled in the workshop. Emphasis was also given to the interrelations between natural resources and the environment and on improved resource management planning, for example through sustainable harvesting and management of the bamboo forest in the case of Nam Ha National Protected Area.

To provide practical insight on biodiversity-based enterprises, the participants visited the production sites in the Nam Ha National Protected Area for a learning exchange with the bamboo producer groups. During the visit, the participants were able to interact with the village producer groups and were able to observe first hand the tasks involved in running a community-managed enterprise for biodiversity-based products with a twofold target of combining income and economic development while conserving biodiversity. The guests could observe the production facilities of the furniture and handicraft groups and learn about the group fund. which is used for reinvestments into further production and business enhancements

BBP project featured in BEDO EXPO 2018

With both local and international participants, the Biodiversity-Based Economy Development (BEDO) Exhibition and Conference, or BEDO EXPO 2018, was held from 10 to 14 September 2018, at the Government Complex in Bangkok, Thailand. Carrying the theme, "Biodiversity-Based Economy for Future", the first part of the week-long event was a three-day exhibition which highlighted the local products sourced and developed in the various communities in Thailand along with several products from other ASEAN Member States.

The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) was one of the exhibitors in the event. The ACB booth featured the products from the communities in the project sites of the “Biodiversity-based Products (BBP) as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection", a project funded by the Federal Republic of Germany in coordination with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH through the GFA Consulting Group with ACB. Bamboo handicrafts from the villages in the Nam Ha National Protected Area in Lao PDR; medicinal bath herbs and Giao Co Lam from the communities in the buffer zones of the Hoang Lien National Park in Viet Nam; and honey from the beekeepers in Ba Be National Park in Viet Nam were the main pieces in the exhibit.

According to Ms. Chularat Niratisayakul, Director General of BEDO, “We believe that the participants from Thailand can gain knowledge and experience from the ASEAN viewpoint and expect to create opportunities to exchange valuable knowledge on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, enhance the long-term well-being of the local communities including expanding to regional activities and strengthening the network of the region in the future.”

The second part of BEDO EXPO 2018 was The Fourth Thailand Biodiversity BioBank Conference: 2018 International Forum on Community BioBank: Thailand Initiatives.

BBP Project conducts training on vine collecting in Siem Reap

pic Cambodia training

Aiming to inform the villagers on the vine handicraft designs that meet the market demand and to provide technical knowledge and practice on weaving the vine material into handicraft items, representatives from the “Biodiversity-based Products (BBP) as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection” Project held a training session in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia on 3 to 5 August 2018. 

Currently unprecedented, the training session was conducted for the benefit of the members of the Vine Handicraft Group, a newly formed organization from the Thmey Village

One of the topics taken up was how to enhance the supply chain together with the Angkor Handicraft Association (AHA) as private sector partner in the vine value chain. All 22 trainees, of which 18 are women, were able to practice the weaving technique during the three-day course. The trainers selected the three best vine handicraft weavers for awarding prizes.

The national BBP partner in Cambodia and the General Secretariat of the National Council for Sustainable Development (GSSD)/ Ministry of Environment subcontracted the AHA for conducting the first training on handicraft weaving. The AHA is an important partner in the establishment of a vine handicraft value chain as it is promoting locally made handicrafts and responsible shopping in Siem Reap by strengthening the local handicraft sector in Siem Reap, and promoting and linking Cambodian artisans to local and international markets.

Started in 2015, the BBP project is one of the projects of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), with support from the German Government via the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The Project is being implemented through the GFA Consulting Group, and is piloting biodiversity-based value chains in selected national parks and ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam with the aim to support and link biodiversity conservation with economic development and livelihoods for communities in the buffer zones of national parks.