Indonesian Rattan

Indonesian Rattan

[Indonesian Rattan] Rattan (from the Malay rotan) is the collective name for the roughly 600 species of palms in the Calameae family. Most rattans are forest species. They are climbers that use thorny stems and leaves to hold on to the supporting structure of other plant species. They are cultivated either within forests or on swidden land, where rattan is planted after the first years of agricultural production and then grows along with the regrowing forest. Rattan is used to make goods such as furniture for national and international markets.

 

Rattans are generally lightweight, durable and — to a certain extent — flexible. The versatility of rattan in daily village life is tremendous (Weinstock 1983). Because of its flexibility and its long stems of great strength, rattan is a primary binding material. In its unsplit form, it is used to provide structural support in furniture and construction. Once split, rattan has a great variety of uses, including weaving into sleeping mats and baskets of all sizes and shapes and to make furniture. Increasingly, natural rattans are being replaced by synthetic rattans, especially in the use of outdoor furniture in temperate climates where natural rattans are subject to mold.

 

Indonesian Rattan Trade

Rattan Accesories
Rattan Accesories

Worldwide, more than 700 million people reportedly trade in or use rattan (Sastry 2001). A decade ago, rattan was one of the main nontimber forest products (NTFPs) in international trade (Sastry 2001). Global trade in unprocessed and semi-processed rattan has been estimated at between 70,000 and 90,000 tons per year valued at between USD 50 million and 65 million (TradeData International 2005).

In 2004, trade in rattan products, such as seats, basketwork and wicker products, was estimated at USD 892 million — or about 15 times the value of trade in unprocessed and semi-processed rattan (TradeData International 2005). By the time rattan products reach the customer, their value reportedly increases to an estimated USD 1.2 billion (Rattanland 2011). China and Hong Kong are the main importers, accounting for more than 90% of imports. Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam are the main suppliers of rattan.

 

Rattan became an important economic crop in Indonesia at the end of the 1960s with the growing motorization of river transportation and an increase in the number of traders and exporters (Pambudhi et al. 2004). In terms of export value, rattan became by far Indonesia’s most important NTFP. Indonesian exports increased at least 200% in the decade from 1968 to 1977, with rattan generating more foreign exchange for Indonesia than any other forest product except timber (Peluso 1993). In the mid-1980s, the country was supplying between 75% and 90% of the world’s markets (Peluso 1986; Mudhi 2008). At the time, most Indonesian rattan was sent to Singapore and Hong Kong, where it was used to manufacture furniture or simply cleaned and re-sorted to meet international trade standards, and re-exported to Europe, the United States or Japan (de Beer and McDermott 1996).

 

Indonesian Rattan Craft
Indonesian Rattan Craft

As a result, Indonesia lost much potential revenue. For example, the value of Indonesian rattan after processing and reexport from Hong Kong in 1970 was 24–28 times the amount received by the original Indonesian exporters (Peluso 1986; de Beer and McDermott 1996). In 1997, Hong Kong imported USD 26 million worth of rattan to produce exports valued at USD 68 million, while in that same year Indonesia exported USD 15 million worth of rattan (Saragih 1996 in Mudhi 2008). There was a clear incentive for Indonesia to develop its own rattan products industry to increase the domestic value of rattan, thus allowing the country to compete more effectively with Hong Kong and Singapore. Another goal was to regulate its rattan resources better.

 

Indonesia Rattan Farmers

Until 1989, Indonesian rattan farmers and collectors profited from strong international demand for rattan, especially after competing Rattan (from the Malay rotan) is the collective name for the roughly 600 species of palms in the Calameae family. Most rattans are forest species. They are climbers that use thorny stems and leaves to hold on to the supporting structure of other plant species. They are cultivated either within forests or on swidden land, where rattan is planted after the first years of agricultural production and then grows along with the regrowing forest.

 

Rattan is used to make goods such as furniture for national and international markets. Rattans are generally lightweight, durable and — to a certain extent — flexible. The versatility of rattan in daily village life is tremendous (Weinstock 1983). Because of its flexibility and its long stems of great strength, rattan is a primary binding material. In its unsplit form, it is used to provide structural support in furniture and construction. Once split, rattan has a great variety of uses, including weaving into sleeping mats and baskets of all sizes and shapes and to make furniture. Increasingly, natural rattans are being replaced by synthetic rattans, especially in the use of outdoor furniture in temperate climates where natural rattans are subject to mold.

 

source : cifor