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