Support to GRET bamboo initiative: “Strengthening the bamboo and rattan sectors in Lao PDR”

Maintaining high biodiversity in agro-ecosystems contributes to poverty reduction in rural livelihoods. Better knowledge, tools and institutional arrangements are needed to support poverty alleviation and preserve biodiversity. Considering the current development context in Lao PDR, GRET supports the conservation and sustainable economic use of bamboo and rattan, aiming at improving the livelihood of upland farmers and enhancing the policy environment.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural development
Agricultural land resources
01.07.2017 - 30.04.2021
CHF  857’237

Lao PDR is considered a “mega-bio-diverse” country where ABD is a key source of food and income security especially for the rural poor in the uplands. The country is undergoing a rapid tran­sition and sees a continued economic growth, with GDP growth of around 7% for 2016 and 2017. The Government has determined agriculture development as a priority and has established guidelines to shift from subsistence agriculture to market-oriented agriculture, including homogenous plantation schemes. As a result, the access to non-timber forest products (NTFPs) such as bamboo and rattan has come under pressure. But agriculture remains the main income source for nearly 70% of the population and contributes significantly to rural poverty reduction. The challenge is how to adapt the Lao farming systems to meet the national development goals - including poverty reduction – and to provide an attractive alternative to industrial commercial crops.


Support smallholder farmers and farmers’ organizations in the co-development of sustainable value chains of bamboo and rattan, guaranteeing sustainable forest management and generating an enabling policy environment.

Target groups

Direct beneficiaries are:

  • 3’500 bamboo producers, organized in producer groups in 80 villages
  • Bamboo Service Organization (BSO)
  • Farmers’ organizations
  • 30 Small and Medium Enterprises having activities in marketing and processing
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), department of Forestry (DoF)
  • Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO), Houaphanh Province


Indirect beneficiaries are:

  • Neighboring upland communities
  • Private sector development actors
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: The bamboo sector in Houaphanh Province is consolidated and sustained through the creation of a “Bamboo Service Organization” and through the strengthening of farmers’ organizations, as part of the "Provincial Development Strategy for the Bamboo Value Chain Sector 2016-2020 "

Outcome 2: A multi-actor process of a "National Strategy on Bamboo and Rattan" is promoted and supported, based on the experience in Houaphanh and in cooperation with other stakeholders.


Expected results:  

  • A Bamboo Service Organization (BSO) and officially recognized farmers’ organizations provide services to stakeholders in the bamboo sector and participate in the co-management of the sector in partnership with public authorities and the private sector.
  • Five sustainable village bamboo value chains are consolidated in three districts of Houaphanh province, guaranteeing sustainable use of forests and regular income to villagers.
  • A national multi-stakeholder platform (govern­ment, private sector, civil society and farmers) is created and starts the process of formulating a national strategy for the development of bamboo and rattan value chains in Laos.
  • This multi-stakeholder national framework effectively contributes to the formulation of sector policies favourable to the development of bamboo and rattan sectors included in a "national development strategy of bamboo and rattan value chains."

Results from previous phases:  

In 2016, through a small action within the Global Credit, SDC contributed to GRET’s bamboo initiati­ve bridging project. This contribution not only aimed at supporting project activities but also at testing the collaboration with GRET. As main results, the new bamboo strategy 2016-2020 for Houaphanh was approved by the provincial authorities; and 2’800 households (in 70 villages, three districts) were engaged in bamboo value chains to be further developed and consolidated, generating an additional yearly cash income of around 200 USD per household. About 4’500 women were directly involved in these activities. Moreover, at national level, the project initiated the development of a national strategy for the bamboo and rattan value chains through the creation of a multi-stakeholder platform. At the end of this short project cycle, re­sults and partnerships were highly positive, but the project shows further important needs for support to strengthen and sustain the developed activities.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Other partners

Individuals and entities involved in agrobiodiversity, farmers’-organization and value-chain development and policy dialogue.

Coordination with other projects and actors


Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    857’237 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    829’281