According to an estimate made by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), the global local usage of rattan is worth US$ 2.5 billion and external trade of rattan is estimated to generate US$ 4 billion. Seven hundred million people worldwide use rattan. Most of the raw material for local processing and for supplying the rattan industry is still obtained by harvesting of unmanaged, wild rattan resources in natural tropical forests. Only a very small share is obtained from rattan plantations. The huge economic and social importance of the rattan sector is based on a fast dwindling stock of wild rattan resources available in the forests, particularly of tropical Asia, and therefore compromising its future outlook.
In light of the above, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), organized an Expert Consultation at FAO, Rome, from 5 to 7 December 2000. The Expert Consultation provided a unique forum where representatives of key stakeholders in the rattan sector and experts in the field made a critical assessment of the present situation of the rattan sector and set the stage for the elaboration of proposals at the global level towards a more sustainable development of the rattan sector. In addition, the Consultation fostered further collaboration among key agencies and has helped to identify short and medium-term activities that will enhance the sustainable development of the rattan sector.
These proceedings include the papers presented at the Consultation, as well as a number of extra papers prepared during the Consultation by the participants or submitted after, that were thought to be of sufficient interest to merit inclusion. The papers included in this publication are a synthesis of the current state of the knowledge on rattan resources and its utilization in general and related issues surrounding their exploitation, processing and trade and provide a unique overview of updated and checked information on the rattan sector throughout Asia and Africa and on its outlook.