Rattan, to fight poverty

Already 18 months of good collaboration with the French company Terre d’Oc, and new projects are signed: rattan and maybe next bamboo. Terre d’Oc needs small sticks of rattan (3mm thick) to diffuse home perfumes. But in Vietnam rattan is threatened species, one must replant urgently: 10.000 plants have been provided to the Raglay ethnic minority, one of the poorest people who live in the mountains of Bình Thuân. Tuu, our agronomist, provides technical support and monitors the plants carefully. Patience! as it takes at least 5 years before they can be harvested. At the next rainy season we will plant another 15.000. Thanks to this project Viêt Nam Plus has obtained the rare permission from the local authorities.

For the Raglays this is a windfall: they are used to be manipulated by unscrupulous merchants, who have no permit but bribe the local guards, they take the rattan for 60% of the normal price. For the harvest 50 families will have work for 6 months a year, pretty well paid (40 € per month against 14 at present).

terredOc_Capilla20 people are employed for the processing part: they are polished, cut at 3mm and 20 cm long, sorted, whitened with in a natural bath, dried, and sorted again…

For the workers doing the processing incomes will jump from 22 € to 55. Terre d’Oc has a policy to promote sustainable development and helps Thiên Chí, the Vietnamese NGO set up by Viêt Nam Plus, in various ways. First with a fair price, well above the market rate. This gives Thiên Chí the means to promote better techniques for agriculture, to promote employment by producing handicrafts, to improve hygiene, to give scholarships to the poorest…

From raw rattan till the finished product. A long and careful production process has been put in place, only with natural products. Strict quality control is done at every stage.

Bernard KERVYN, 29/11/2007