Rattan/cane, a spiky climbing plant, is biodegradable and naturally renewable as a crop. It is wonderful for a sustainable development project as the local farmers actually plant rattan in ‘gardens’.
Rattan needs trees to grow. Because the trees are left standing when rattan is harvested,the raw material is classified as a non-forest product.
Rattan absorbs CO2, generates clear air, and produces up to 35% more oxygen than a tree.
As opposed to bamboo, rattan is not hollow, rather solid. It is strong, bendable and very durable.
It is perfect for furniture production. Rattan is nearly impossible to wear out and lasts for many generations. 80% of the world’s rattan resources grow in Indonesia. Rattan is easy and environmentally friendly to work with.
The rattan stem only needs to be steamed for 10-15 minutes before it can be formed.
Rattan comes in 600 different variants, 40 of which can be used in the production of furniture.
Rattan grows all year round and withstands heavy harvesting, providing a regular mode of income for many rural communities in West Bengal, India. It is easy to work with and requires low-cost machines and tools compared to wood.
Its labor-intensive processing techniques offer varied employment to the communities in this region, where the tradition of handcrafting with this material has been passed on from generations.