Sales of bamboo ornaments and utensils crafted by the Bamboo Producer Group in Sre Preah Community Protected Area (CPA) increased almost four times from $212 in 2019 to $806 in 2020.
The reasons for this increase in income were that the Bamboo Producer Group diversified the bamboo products being made and improved their quality as a result of training delivered under the USAID KSCP, as well as behavior change in consumers who stopped using plastic items and switched to bamboo.
Sre Preah Bamboo Producer Group - a community-based enterprise - was established in September 2018 with support from USAID, REDD+ and CAMPAS (GEF 6) projects, with an aim to (i) improve livelihoods of the group members; (ii) demonstrate sustainable use of bamboo resources in Sre Preah CPA; and (iii) incentivize reforestation of degraded areas with bamboo in Sre Preah CPA. The main business activities of the group include propagating and transplanting bamboo on degraded land, and creating bamboo handicrafts for sale.
The group is comprised of 27 members, including 15 women from three villages - Pu Char, Pu Kong and O Chra - in Sre Preah commune, Keo Seima District of Mondulkiri Province. Items crafted by the group include kettle, mug, cup, candle holder, tissue box, clothes hanger, mobile phone speaker, pen holder, kitchen storage container, flower pot, and more.
The Sre Preah Bamboo Producer Group was established and is supported by the USAID Keo Seima Conservation Project (USAID KSCP), being implemented by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia. The group manages 69 hectares of bamboo in Sre Preah CPA, containing four species of bamboo known locally as russey thngor, russey prey, russey khley, and russey roleak. Group members have received training on sustainable bamboo harvesting techniques, business plan development, inventory skills, benefit sharing, and financial management.
The revenue from sales of bamboo products is used by group members for household expenses, and a portion is invested in forest conservation in the CPA. The group hope to continue selling processed bamboo, expand the area under bamboo cultivation by using bamboo to reforest degraded land throughout the CPA, and are assessing market demand and production feasibility for other bamboo products.