What is Sustainable Rattan Harvesting?

Rattan is a natural climbing plant that grows in rainforests or in rattan gardens. If left alone, they can grow up to hundreds of meters. They require trees to latch on in order to grow. At a certain age, they produce shoots that shall grow into new rattan vines. They take about 5 to 7 years to regenerate. This is for the small diameter rattan. Large diameter rattan may take longer to grow.

In Indonesia, there are "Rattan Farmers" who maintain their lands in forest-like state, caring for and planting the rattan and the trees that they grow on. Then, there are also "Rattan Gatherers" who harvest wild growing rattan from natural forests.

Rattan can be considered as a sustainable material as farmers need to maintain trees in order to cultivate their rattan. However, to be fully sustainable, they also need to be harvested in a sustainable manner.

Sustainable rattan gathering process makes sure that rattan are harvested legally, either from rattan gardens or from public access forests. It also ensures that trees are not cut when the vines are harvested. It also entails that for clustering rattan species, only mature vines are cut so other stems and shoots can still grow.. In both clustering and single stemmed rattan, it is important that the rattan has produced seeds and seeds have fallen to the ground creating new seedlings. If harvesting is done before seeding, regeneration is not possible.

What is PGS certified Rattan?

PGS Rattan or Participatory Guarantee System Certified Rattan is a project initiated by NTFP-EP Indonesia that aims to apply an appropriate, effective, cost-efficient certification to rattan harvested from rattan gardens by community-based suppliers and those sustainably harvested from natural forests. It aims to contribute to the traceability and sustainability of rattan materials as well as the social goal of increasing benefits for rattan producers. The integrated approach ties in sustainability with market mechanisms and installs premiums for local communities and thus ensures continued sustainability.

PGS Rattan brings together different standards, incorporating fair trade principles, sustainable resource management and looks at the aspect of rights (long term sustainability depends on long term tenure etc) and thus is holistic. It is innovative as it places the action in the hands of the community members and civil society vs consultants who visit field sites infrequently and are less knowledgeable of socio-political concerns. Through certification, premiums and/or access to new and niche markets, PGS rattan may provide more opportunities for the value chain actors. Through the participatory approach, costs are minimized and communities are empowered. PGS, or Participatory Guarantee Systems, as defined by IFOAM, are locally focused quality assurance systems. They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.

Certification of rattan products is based on active participation of stakeholders, often times recognizing and building on local knowledge.

What does it guarantee?

It guarantees that the rattan is managed and harvested sustainably.

Why do I need PGS certified rattan?

PGS certified rattan ensures products produced from rattan resources do not harm forest ecosystems. It also allows you to trace the source of your product.

How does the guarantee work?

The PGS units comprised of government personnel, NGOs, private sector and producer groups review the applications of rattan producers against standards for certified rattan, agreed upon by the stakeholders. If they meet all the standards, rattan producers are certified. Rattan products are marked, if they are to travel within islands to ensure the chain of custody is not broken.

Who guarantees the rattan? And what is their authority?

PGS units, composed of local rattan farmers and gatherers, artisans, NGOs representatives, government personnel, are organized at local and national levels. They review that applicants comply with standards. They have the power to certify and revoke PGS certification.

How can I trust its reliability?

PGS follows a sustainable rattan standard and is monitored by PGS units at the local level. The standard consists of 5 criteria: legality, production sustainability, ecological sustainability, socio-cultural factors and traceability. Under PGS, there is PGS unit that consists of stakeholders who are responsible to coordinate, monitor and approve applications for certification by farmer and weaver groups under the PGS System.

PGS systems are more reliable that 3rd party certification as the units are locally managed and this monitoring can occur more regularly than in 3rd party certification. The standards are also built on indigenous knowledge and thus are more appropriate for the specific species being monitored.

Who can use PGS Rattan?

Producer organizations, companies abiding by principles of sustainability

What can the rattan be used for?

The rattan can be used for craft materials and also furniture and home interiors.

What is the trademark of the guarantee?

Rotan Lestari which means “sustainable rattan” in bahasa Indonesia.

What benefits do companies get from using PGS Rattan?

Through PGS Rattan, premiums and/or access to new and niche markets may provide more opportunities for the value chain actors.

Does it meet any legal requirement for exporting rattan products?

(in Indonesia, starting in 2012, only finished products are allowed to be exported, whether it is PGS certified or not).

Is this recognized by the government?

The local government actors participate and endorse the certified rattan. The national recognition process is now in the development stage. But the government, particularly the ministry of environment and forestry is eager to endorse PGS for rattan.

Can I use the label on my finished product?

The label can be used on the finished products as long as all the chains are included in the chain of custody.

Are there procedures or requirements to use the label on my product?

There is a label guideline to order the use of the label to the products.

Will consumers recognize the label?

(PGS rattan is in the development stage….. but PGS itself/ the system is recognized and used in many countries. In every country where PGS is used, products have their own labels. For example in Indonesia PGS certified organic products use the "PAMOR" label. In other countries PGS products use different labels.)

Is there marketing support for consumers to recognize the label? If so, what kind of support are there?

So far, we rely on BorneoChic for rattan crafts and we will link with Fair Trade Furniture UK for rattan furniture for marketing support. At present NTFP-EP is supporting marketing and consumer awareness efforts.

Where can we buy PGS Rattan?

Contact the NTFP-EP at info@ntfp.org.

What is the cost of PGS certified rattan?

According to a study carried out by the Indonesian Organic Alliance (AOI) (2013), PGS certification costs can be 10-30% less than 3rd party certification for national organizations and 40-50% less than certification of international organizations.

Where in Indonesia does PGS rattan come from?

The rattan comes from Kalimantan and Sulawesi

Who are the partners in PGS Rattan?

Aliansi Organis Indonesia (AOI)/ Indonesian Organic Alliance, SETARA.

The project is supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry

How did PGS Rattan start?

The Rattan PGS system and standards were developed through research, interviews and discussions with stakeholders both at the district and national level. Several focus group discussions and workshops were held to gather inputs and feedback from farmers, weavers, government officials, scientists, private sector representatives and NGO representatives. After the standard was finalized, it was then pilot tested in Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan, for small diamater rattan. Piloting is ongoing in Sulawesi for larger diameter rattanused for furniture.

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