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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 2013 Vol. 9, No. 2, 146–154, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2013.791879 The trade of bamboo (Graminae) and its secondary products in a regional market of southern Bangladesh: status and socio-economic signiﬁcance a,b, c Sharif Ahmed Mukul * and Md. Parvez Rana a b School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia; Centre for Research on Land-use Sustainability, Maijdi, Noakhali 3800, Bangladesh; School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu 80101, Finland Bamboo is one of the most important non-timber forest products in Bangladesh. Previous research, however, has focused mainly on its silvicultural aspects, with its socio-economic aspects remaining underexplored. In a study conducted between January and March in 2008, we surveyed 30 randomly selected bamboo-based entrepreneurs in a regional market in southern Bangladesh to identify employment and trade patterns, ﬁnancial contributions, and marketing of bamboo and its products. Bamboo was found to be important in generating proﬁts for entrepreneurs and employment for low-skilled rural workers. Bambusa balcooa, Melocanna baccifera, Bambusa tulda,and Bambusa vulgaris were found to be the most traded species, with Bambusa balcooa constituting 39% of the market. Major uses of (secondary products from) bamboo were found to be construction, fences, mats, and domestic baskets and utensils. Operating costs varied across the enterprises according to their sales, workforce size, and purchases. Estimated net average incomes of the large, medium, and small enterprises were around Tk. 43,000 ($625), Tk. 30,000 ($435), and Tk. 19,300 ($280), respectively, during the year 2007. Medium-sized enterprises earned the most (32%) from the sale of secondary products. Three marketing channels were identiﬁed, with most of the bamboo in the area being found to be collected through intermediaries. Our discussion highlights the importance of bamboo and its secondary products in generating employment and proﬁts in the area and also the presence of problems such as income variability throughout the year. Promoting the trade of bamboo and bamboo-based enterprises through appropriate technical and ﬁnancial assistance to growers and entrepreneurs could be an effective strategy to improve local economies in Bangladesh. Keywords: non-timber forest products; value-added products; small-scale enterprise; ﬁnancial contribution; marketing patterns Introduction increasingly recognized as a potential tool for poverty alleviation amongst marginal or low-income people (Ruiz Over the last two decades, bamboo has been increasingly Pérez et al. 1999). According to the International Network recognized as one of the major non-timber forest products for Bamboo and Rattan (1999), worldwide domestic trade (NTFPs) of the world (Wong 2004). In fact, with more than and subsistence use of bamboo is worth about US$ 4.5 bil- 1500 documented uses and with about 1200 species, it is lion per annum, with another US$ 2.7 billion gener- one of the most useful and economically important NTFPs ated from its export. In Asia, with around 1000 bamboo (Lobovikov et al. 2007). This species of grass belongs to species grown naturally, bamboo industries are now thriv- the family Graminae and is distributed naturally across ing (Lobovikov et al. 2007). In China, for example, bam- the tropics and subtropics (Lobovikov et al. 2007; Qing boo is a valuable raw material for its booming NTFPs et al. 2008). Worldwide, approximately 2.5 billion people industry, which has stimulated regional economies and beneﬁt directly or indirectly from the trade and consump- has generated employment opportunities for thousands of tion of bamboo (International Network for Bamboo and semi-skilled laborers (Ruiz Pérez et al. 1999). Rattan 1999; Yuming et al. 2004). In many parts of the In Bangladesh, bamboo, also called ‘poor man’s tim- world, bamboo still forms an essential part of the liveli- ber’, has played a central role in regional NTFP mar- hoods and cultures of tribal and rural communities by being kets (Khan & Khan 1994). Between 1981 and 2000, the the primary source of housing material, food, agricultural gross annual domestic consumption of bamboo was about implements, and domestic utensils (Vantomme et al. 2002; 700 million culms, corresponding to almost one million Yuming et al. 2004). tons (Lobovikov et al. 2007). Bamboo is also the major raw Globally, in the last few years, commercialization of material for about 45,000 small-scale cottage enterprises NTFPs has increased income and employment opportu- in the country (Banik 1998). Thirty-three bamboo species, nities, especially for poor and otherwise disadvantaged with 18 occurring naturally, have been reported from the people (Belcher & Schreckenberg 2007). In developing country (Banik 1998; Bystriakova et al. 2003). Only a few countries, the production and trade of bamboo has been Corresponding author. Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com © 2013 Taylor & Francis International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 147 of these species, however, are socio-economically impor- as manufactured secondary products. Entrepreneurs were tant and many are limited by their distribution. In the identiﬁed randomly from the market through a preliminary country, bamboo is available both from forest and non- ﬁeld survey. Thirty entrepreneurs (n = 30), corresponding forest areas and can be categorized into forest bamboos and to about 25% of the total sample population (N = 122), village bamboos based on their primary collection source. were selected randomly, regardless of the volume of their Despite bamboo’s widespread use in Bangladesh, previous business and regardless of their involvement with that research mainly concentrated on silvicultural or manage- business in terms of number of years of participation. rial aspects of bamboo rather than its socio-economic Entrepreneurs were interviewed personally, maintaining an signiﬁcance, especially in relation to trade patterns and informal schedule, and each interview took place during ﬁnancial prospects (c.f. Banik 1988; Miah et al. 2002; the day between 9.30 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. in places con- Kamruzzaman et al. 2008; Rana et al. 2010). With such a venient to the respondent, this generally being their place backdrop, the present study was designed to better under- of business. Each interview took a minimum of 30 min- stand the social and ﬁnancial attributes of bamboo trade utes to a maximum of 2 hours based on the availability and marketing patterns in a regional market of south- of the entrepreneurs for the survey. Additionally, to gain ern Bangladesh. The study could serve as a baseline for insight into the overall bamboo market in the area and future and in-depth socio-economic studies on bamboo- the prospects and challenges faced by the entrepreneurs, based enterprises and livelihoods. The organization of this two focus group discussions involving local and inﬂuen- paper is as follows. First, there is a brief description of the tial entrepreneurs were organized. For convenience of data method used for data collection and analysis. Then there is analysis based on annual proﬁts from the sale of bam- a presentation of ﬁndings about the nature of employment boo and bamboo-based manufactured products, enterprises and wages, how bamboo is used and which species are most were later categorized into three distinct classes: ‘large’ – 2 −1 important, the proﬁtability of bamboo and bamboo-based income above Tk. 135,000 ($1942) year ; ‘medium’ – −1 enterprises, and how bamboo is collected and marketed. income of Tk. 80,000 ($1151)–135,000 ($1942) year , There is then a discussion of our ﬁndings, followed by con- and ‘small’ – income below Tk. 80,000 ($1151) −1 cluding comments about the way in which this study can be year . used and recommendations for the focus of development We used a semi-structured questionnaire to collect initiatives. information on basic demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the entrepreneurs, ﬁnancial information for the year 2007, supply and sources of bamboo, manufac- tured products, marketing patterns, status of workers (i.e., The study site the people who worked in the local bamboo shop on either The study was performed in Baroia Hat Pouroshova (the a permanent or temporary basis), and available government local term for ‘metropolis’) under Mirsharai upazila of and non-government organization (NGO) support. the Chittagong division, in southern Bangladesh (Figure 1). All qualitative and quantitative data were collected in ◦ ◦ ◦ The area is located between 22 40 –22 58 N and 91 25 – local terms and units. The approximated incomes of the 91 40 E in an important strategic focal point and is local bamboo-based enterprises for the year 2007 were esti- bounded by Tripura state in India and the Feni district mated through careful questioning of the entrepreneurs. All to the north, Sitakunda upazila to the south, Fatikchari comparisons were made in terms of monetary value. The upazila to the east, and Sonagazi (Noakhali) upazila to the total input (purchase of raw products, transportation, wages west. The only hilly range of the country to the northern of the workers, an allowance towards self-labor, ﬁxed costs and eastern sides of this area extended up to Chittagong like permanent structures, depreciation costs, rent and bills, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. This is an old and estab- taxes on incomes and, where applicable, interest on loans) lished bamboo market, which acts as a hub for major and output (sale of primary and secondary value-added bamboo-producing districts of the southern region of the products) values were adjusted at 2008 prices. The produc- country. The area is a major supply source of bamboo tion costs of the bamboo-based products were determined and related products to adjacent districts because of the from the average value of total inputs required (excluding relatively cheap price attributable to year-round supply of wages of workers and factory running costs). For quanti- bamboo from nearby upstream hilly forest areas and from tative data, descriptive statistics were used to interpret the the local homesteads. The market spreads along a quarter key ﬁndings. kilometer of the Dhaka-Chittagong main highway and is easily accessible from any part of the country. Results Methods Entrepreneurs and the work force Fieldwork for the study was conducted during January– All the entrepreneurs were male with the majority of March, 2008. An entrepreneur was deﬁned as a person who them (53.3%) being younger than 41–50 years (Table 1). owns a bamboo-based enterprise who buys bamboo and Literacy rates among the entrepreneurs were high; most resells it either in its raw form as bamboo culms/poles or had primary school educations (43.3%), followed by junior 148 S.A. Mukul and Md.P. Rana Figure 1. The study site in southern Bangladesh (Source: Bangladesh Forest Department). secondary school (33.3%) and secondary school or above paid a monthly salary and were permanently employed (20%). Most of the entrepreneurs were engaged in their in the factories. The majority of the workers were adult profession for more than 10 years, following on from their males (84.4%), in the age bracket of 31–40 years, with a predecessor (Table 1). The trade of bamboo was the pri- literacy rate of 52.5% (i.e., education in primary school mary earning source for about 40% of the entrepreneurs or above). There were two types of workers in the indus- (12 out of 30), whereas the trade of bamboo-based sec- try: artisans (locally termed as karigar) who manufactured ondary products was the primary earning source for the bamboo-based secondary products and laborers whose about 30% of the entrepreneurs (9 out of 30) (Figure 2). main responsibility was to provide physical labor. The Other major income-generating occupations among the average number of workers in the large, medium, and entrepreneurs were agriculture (5; 16.7%) and other small small factories was 8.6 (artisan, 33.3%), 6.17 (artisan, businesses (3; 10%). 34.23%), and 4.5 (artisan, 27.78%) persons, respectively. In the 30 factories that were surveyed, there were All the children (2.5%) and female (15.6%) laborers work 198 workers altogether. Among the workers, 52% were temporarily employed. Women and children also received working temporarily on a per day wage basis and 48% were lower wages than did adult male laborers (the daily wage International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 149 Table 1. Proﬁle of the interviewed entrepreneurs and workers. use as scaffolding during building construction and for making the framework of roof casting (Figure 3). The Entrepreneurs/ Artisans/ major use of the other three species of M. baccifera, traders laborers B.tulda, and B. vulgaris were making fences, mats, and (n = 30) (n = 198) domestic baskets and utensils (Figures 4 and 5). Apart Variable Class No. % No. % from B. balcoa, M. baccifera was also sold in unprocessed form. The market price of B. balcoa and M. baccifera Age <10 years −− 52.5 culms varied considerably in terms of maturity and quality 10–20 years −− 84.0 21–30 years 2 6.7 72 36.4 (i.e., usable length, thickness, and color) of the culms. The 31–40 years 8 26.7 98 49.5 usual price of a single B. balcoa culm in the local market 41–50 years 16 53.3 12 6.0 was Tk. 150–200 compared with its purchase value from 51–60 years 3 10.0 3 1.5 intermediaries of between Tk. 80 and 110, whereas M. bac- 60> years 1 3.3 −− cifera was sold at a price of Tk. 500–750 (100 culms) with Sex Male 30 100.0 167 84.4 Female −− 31 15.6 a purchase value ranging between Tk. 300 and Tk. 425. Education Illiterate 1 3.3 94 47.5 Prices were also subject to change according to seasonal Primary 13 43.3 76 38.4 demand and product availability, where the peak season is Junior 10 33.3 26 13.1 between October and April with the initiation of the con- secondary struction period during winter and the off-peak season is Secondary 6 20.0 2 1.0 or above between May and September. Number of 1–5 years 3 10.0 116 58.6 A list of articles produced from different bamboo years in the 6–10 years 8 26.7 63 31.8 species with their trade names, common uses, production profession 10> years 19 63.3 19 9.6 costs, and prices in the different markets is given in Table 3. Bamboo mats and fences are the two most popular and traded articles available at different sizes. The prices of rate of adult males, women, and children during the study entire articles were found to depend primarily on the time period were Tk. 120, Tk. 80, and Tk. 60 respectively). and expertise required by artisans followed by the amount of bamboo and other raw materials used to manufacture those products. Utilization of bamboo and secondary products Four species of bamboo (Table 2) were traded locally in the market, either in unprocessed form as bamboo poles/culms Proﬁting from bamboo-based enterprises or for manufacturing secondary bamboo-based products. B. balcoa was the most traded species (29%; market value Based on our ﬁnancial calculations focusing on the amount Tk. 322,245 during 2007) followed by M. baccifera, B. of total cash earned from selling of bamboo and bamboo- tulda, and B. vulgaris (market value Tk. 223,092.5, Tk. based secondary products, the numbers of enterprises 190,040, and Tk. 90,890, respectively). The total shares falling within the large, medium, and small categories of B. balcoa, B. tulda, B. baccifera, and B. vulgaris were were 8, 18, and 4, respectively. The ﬁnancial informa- 39, 27, 23, and 11%, respectively, in terms of market value tion about the enterprises for the year 2007 is summarized during the year 2007. B. balcoa was traded primarily in in Table 4. The estimated net proﬁt/earnings of large, unprocessed form and was reported as being popular for medium, and small enterprises during 2007 were Tk. Figure 2. Entrepreneurs’ engagement in different occupations as primary earning source. 150 S.A. Mukul and Md.P. Rana Table 2. Bamboo species used in the local market. Category (based Botanical name Local name(s) on source) Bambusa balcooa Borak, Barua, Village/forest Roxb. Bhaluka bans bamboo Bambusa tulda Roxb. Mitinga, Mita, Forest/village Nitai bans bamboo Bambusa vulgaris Baijja bans Village bamboo Schrd. ex. Wendl Melocanna baccifera Muli, Nali bans Forest bamboo (Roxb.) Kurz Figure 5. Bamboo baskets and other bamboo-based products (Photo credit: Sharif A. Mukul). of wages/salaries to the workers employed in the corre- sponding enterprises (37–41%). The pattern of earnings from primary and secondary products varied across dif- ferent enterprise categories (Figure 6). The medium-sized enterprises, however, earned on average the most from the selling of secondary or manufactured products (Tk. 35,942; 32% of total income). The net contribution of earn- ing from bamboo-based enterprise to entrepreneurs’ gross annual incomes (i.e., the sum of income from both bamboo and non-bamboo-based activities) was around 61–80% to about 37% of the surveyed entrepreneurs (Table 5). Figure 3. Utilization of bamboo during house construction (Photo credit: Sharif A. Mukul). Collection and marketing of bamboo and bamboo products Our survey revealed that most of the bamboo (80%) was collected through intermediaries. About 16% of the bamboo was collected from distant bamboo hat’s (the local term for the open bamboo market) by entrepreneurs themselves and 4% was collected directly from local homesteads and village bamboo groves (Figure 7). Nearly all the imported bamboo in the area was brought from the south-eastern and hilly regions of the country, including some regular/weekly bamboo hat’s in the Khagrachari, Matiranga, Ramgorh, Kaptai, Tabalchri, Panchari, Chekchara, Chikonchara, Koila, Balutila, Hyako, Narayanhat, Korerhat, and Notunbazar areas. The majority of the bamboo from these locations was supplied during the monsoon period to take advantage Figure 4. Making bamboo fences in temporary shade (Photo of the monsoon river current that facilitates rafting of large credit: Sharif A. Mukul). amount of bamboo from upstream areas (Figure 8). Beside these regular sources, a considerable proportion of bamboo 41,565, Tk. 26,540, and Tk. 22,215, respectively. Only was also brought illegally from the nearby Tripura state of three of the surveyed enterprises had a self-owned perma- India. The price of bamboo, however, varied across areas nent structure as the place of doing business, whereas the and was usually cheaper in remote areas with compar- other entrepreneurs rented space from others to run their atively high transportation costs involved. Intermediaries businesses. Most of the inputs into the surveyed enter- appeared to prefer buying bulk amounts of bamboo from prises were used for purchasing unprocessed bamboo for more remote areas to secure the advantage of somewhat further sale and processing (50–53%) followed by payment lower prices. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 151 Table 3. Bamboo-based articles (secondary products) and prices on the local market. Selling price ($) Production cost ($), approx time Trade name English name and use (hr.) Factory Intermediaries Wholesaler Retailer Bera (36 × 120 inch) Fence, in 0.65, 4 0.86 1.08 1.15 1.30−1.44 rural/temporary housing Bera,(72 × 96 inch) Fence, in 0.50, 3.5 0.72 0.79 0.94 1.08−1.15 rural/temporary housing Bookshelf,(36 × Bookshelf, domestic 1.00, 5 1.37 1.58 1.80 2.02−2.16 24 inch) use Chaluni Screener, domestic 0.43, 2.5 0.65 0.72 Not involved 0.86−1.08 utensils Chatai,(48 × 60 inch) Mat, for construction 0.36, 2 0.50 0.65 0.72 0.79 Chatai,(36 × 48 inch) Mat, for construction 0.29, 1.5 0.43 0.58 0.65 0.72 Jhuri Basket, domestic 0.36, 3 0.58 0.72 Not involved 0.86−0.94 utensils Rickshaw hood Rickshaw hood, parts of 2.16, 6 3.60 4.32 Not involved 5.76 rickshaw Tukri Basket, in labor works 0.86, 4 1.15 1.37 Not involved 1.73 Source: Market survey during February 2008. Note: Absence of wholesaler in the value chain. Table 4. Financial analysis of the study enterprises. All values are rounded. Enterprises [mean (±SD)] Category Large-sized Medium-sized Small-sized Fixed costs Permanent cost 8611 (11,442) 315 (65) 290 (71) Rent (of shops) 3900 (3,670) 7333 (2726) 5100 (1509) Operating costs Wages of workers (self, permanent, and temporary) 36,481 (5280) 30,402 (4499) 19,381 (3968) Purchase of raw products 44,856 (3745) 37,340 (5653) 27,636 (2180) Transportation costs (inputs and outputs) 7581 (1102) 6390 (1165) 4650 (472) Bills and taxes (of income) 457 (72) 315 (96) 492 (82) Others 294 (83) 236 (56) 309 (79) Income Primary products (bamboo) 114,250 (6665) 76,388 (28,255) 63,375 (5344) Secondary products (bamboo-based crafts) 30,937 (5685) 35,942 (23,641) 13,750 (6291) Net income/proﬁt 43,006.0 (8282) 29,997 (4616) 19,265 (1810) Notes: An allowance towards the permanent structures (where applicable), depreciation cost, and instruments. We assumed a rotation age of 20 years for structures and 5 years for instruments. An amount towards operators’/entrepreneurs’ wages calculated at the standard wage rate. Net proﬁts are estimated as total income less total expenditure [i.e., income − (ﬁxed costs + operating costs)]. We identiﬁed three different marketing channels for products, earning in some cases nearly twice the factory selling of bamboo and bamboo manufactured secondary prices they received (Table 3). products (Figure 9). Around 27% of the products (with an estimated value of about Tk. 942,830) were collected The role of NGOs in promoting bamboo-based directly from the market by consumers (producer → enterprises consumer). The rest (with an approximate value of Tk. We identiﬁed two different NGOs, namely ‘Grameen 254,9130) was sold to intermediaries who re-sell the prod- Bank’ (the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the ucts to a retailer or wholesaler before reaching consumers world’s pioneer micro-credit provider) and ‘BRAC’(an (producer → intermediary → retailer → consumer or acronym for Building Resources Across Communities; producer → intermediary → wholesaler → consumer). the world’s largest NGO) supporting local bamboo busi- In the case of secondary products, retailers earned the ness and entrepreneurs (56.7% respondents) in the area. maximum possible from selling bamboo manufactured 152 S.A. Mukul and Md.P. Rana Figure 6. Monthly incomes (in $) from bamboo and secondary products between large, medium, and small enterprises. Table 5. Contribution of bamboo-based income to entrepreneurs’ total annual income. Entrepreneurs (N = 30) Contribution to total income (%) Number Percentage 0–20 1 3 21–40 6 20 41–60 9 30 61–80 11 37 81–100 3 10 Figure 8. Bamboo rafting in the area (Photo credit: Sharif A. Mukul). Figure 7. A village bamboo grove (Photo credit: Sharif A. Mukul). Discussion The support was, however, limited to purchasing of bam- In Bangladesh, because of its direct and widespread impor- boo and was restricted to between Tk. 25,000 and Tk. tance to people’s social and economic wellbeing, bam- 50,000. Recipients of loans had to return the money in boo plays a crucial role in improving the livelihoods of monthly installments at an agreed and pre-arranged rate. rural poor people (Nath et al. 2000). Moreover, much of The amount and extent of such support did, however, the bamboo is harvested by the poor (especially by the appear to be inadequate, and entrepreneurs claimed that women and children) and an estimated 300,000 people in procedures for processing their loans were rather compli- the country are employed in bamboo cutting and collect- cated, with modest (15–35%) interest rates being charged. ing from the forests (Banik 1998). In our study, most of International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 153 (Moktan et al. 2009). The support of NGOs in buy- Local sources Distant ing raw materials and disseminating value-added products (Homestead) sources/market signiﬁcantly inﬂuences the success of the small-scale enter- prises part of the industry (Pereira et al. 2006). In our Intermediary study, the contribution of earnings from trade of bamboo and bamboo-based products to entrepreneurs’ net annual incomes was found to vary from person to person. Such an unusual pattern of contribution was also reported by Bamboo-based local enterprises Shackleton and Campbell (2007) in the case of broom grass (Producer) (Athrixiaphylicoides and Festucacostata) trade in South Africa, where it contributed between 76 and 100% of gross Intermediary annual income for about 76% of producers. Again, Pereira Intermediary et al. (2006) in another study found that the income from reed (Cyperustextilis and Juncuskraussii)-based craft prod- Wholesaler ucts contributed an average of 5–40% to the total annual Retailer incomes of the crafters. Some disparities while market- Retailer ing of bamboo-based secondary products were observed: retailers tended to take advantage of marketing and most of End-user the time they earned the best returns from the sale of prod- (Consumers) ucts. Similar proﬁt inequalities are evident also in Lim et al. (1994) in the case of NTFP products trade in Malaysia and Figure 9. Market chain of bamboo and related products. in Maraseni et al. (2006) in the case of lichen (a common Nepalese NTFP) trade across the large border area between Nepal and India. the entrepreneurs involved in bamboo and bamboo-based products belonged to the age class 41–50 years. The pattern of involvement and importance of enterprise processing Conclusion and selling of local NTFPs is comparable with the ﬁndings of Alamgir et al. (2006) and Uddin et al. (2008). Alamgir This study analyzed the trade patterns, ﬁnancial con- et al. (2006) found that most of the entrepreneurs of cane tribution, and marketing of bamboo and bamboo-based (Calamus spp. and Daeomonorops spp.) enterprises were products in a regional market in southern Bangladesh. younger than the age class 41–50 in the nearby Chittagong It could usefully serve as a baseline for future and in-depth city corporation area. The diversiﬁed uses of bamboo for socio-economic studies on bamboo-based enterprises and all conceivable household purposes is also in accordance livelihoods in Bangladesh and elsewhere. We ﬁnd that with the ﬁndings of Banik (1994), Nath et al. (2000), bamboo is important not only in generating proﬁts for local Lobovikov et al. (2007), and Motaleb and Hossain (2008) entrepreneurs, but also as a way of creating employment from other parts of the country. Banik (1994) also reported for rural, less-skilled workers in production and through south-eastern hilly districts as being the major sources of provision of intermediary services between producers and all traded bamboo in the country. consumers. It is recommended that attention should be paid Nowadays, because of technological advancements, to income disparities amongst different people. We also intrusion of synthetic substitutes into local markets, and ﬁnd that four species are most economically important, changing attitudes of consumers, there have been changes suggesting a fruitful route for provision of technical and in the pattern of trade and in the consumption of major ﬁnancial support for growers. We also highlight the many NTFPs (including bamboo) in urban areas of the coun- uses of bamboo, which provides clues for where to focus try (Mukul 2011). In the area, the majority of the traded technical and ﬁnancial assistance for entrepreneurs. bamboo (i.e., B. balcoa) was ﬁnally used for bamboo scaf- Our ﬁndings about price ﬂuctuations and variability folding during building construction. Similar notable use is are also important. Price variability appeared to depend on also evident from Wong (2004). The prices of the articles maturity and quality, and this reveals clues about how local manufactured from bamboo, other than unprocessed ones, growers might improve their incomes through provision of were found to vary depending on raw materials, exper- better quality and older bamboo for sale. Our ﬁnding that tise, and time required to manufacture individual products. there is an off-peak season between May and September Similar observations are also evident from Ahmed et al. is important for understanding the earnings volatility for (2007) in the case of murta (Schumannianthus dichotoma)- workers and entrepreneurs. based products in the north-eastern region of the country. Despite its contribution to local livelihoods and the The recent commercialization of many NTFPs makes regional economy, this thriving industry still seems to value chains more complex and difﬁcult (Belcher & rely on one particular season of the year, and this leaves Schreckenberg 2007). Furthermore, the main actors (e.g., the livelihoods of the rural workers employed in this artisans) are often underpaid because of their poor mar- industry vulnerable. Governments and NGOs should work keting knowledge and their limited access to markets together with entrepreneurs to make the livelihoods of 154 S.A. Mukul and Md.P. Rana poor workers more resilient during the off-market period, Malaysia: preliminary survey results. J Trop Forest Sci. 6(4):502–507. thereby making the industry more stable and sustainable. Lobovikov M. Paudel S, Piazza M, Ren H, Wu J. 2007. World This could be achieved through providing greater technical bamboo resources, a thematic study prepared in the frame- and institutional support in the distribution of bamboo and work of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005. value-added products from bamboo to urban and regional Rome (Italy): Food and Agriculture Organization of the markets. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Jun 1, 2013
Keywords: non-timber forest products; value-added products; small-scale enterprise; financial contribution; marketing patterns
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