Rattan, an important non-timber forest product, is a flexible palm used in weaving baskets or furniture. Rattan is light yet sturdy, making it suitable for furniture that can be moved often. Bangladesh has a large number of rattan-based enterprises. This paper reports a case study carried out in Sylhet City Corporation of north-eastern Bangladesh, exploring the production, financial profitability and marketing of rattan-based products, and the problems and priorities of rattan-based enterprises as well as their potential contribution to employment opportunity. A sample survey was conducted of 58 randomly selected rattan-based enterprises with entrepreneurs personally interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Based on the total investment, the enterprises were divided into large, medium and small categories. Three origins of rattan (Local, Myanmar and Indonesia) and five species were used by the enterprises to produce 29 rattan-based product types. Rattan products were divided into three basic categories, viz. domestic utensils, domestic decorative articles and others for which uses are not specific. Among the three rattan origins, processing cost of local and Myanmar rattan species products was less and more articles were sold than for Indonesia rattan species. Financial analysis indicated that rattan-based enterprises are a profitable and attractive option for local socio-economic development. Entrepreneurs' views on major problems and issues in rattan-based product trading and suggested measures to improve the condition of rattan-based enterprises also collected. Rattan-based enterprises will generate more domestic revenue, foreign exchange and employment if policies are adopted to provide the enterprises with a reliable source of raw materials and technical and financial assistance from Government to NGOs to sell the products, and expand market facilities in both local and international markets. © 2011 Steve Harrison, John Herbohn.
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