The rattan and bamboo processing industry should be developed on an industrial scale in the future, said experts at a recent seminar held by the Vietnam Wood and Forestry Product Association and the Agro-Forestry, Seafood Processing and Salt Industry Department.

Experts said the rattan and bamboo processing industry has the potential to develop many kinds of consumer products on an industrial scale, according to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in the northern province of Son La.

Vietnam has 1.4 million hectares growing bamboo trees and 30,000ha of rattan trees, mainly in Thanh Hoa, Lam Dong, Nghe An, Son La and Yen Bai provinces.

Experts said this large volume of material which could process many kinds of products for export and local consumption.

Demand for using of rattan and bamboo products has also increased on world markets, they said.

Nguyen Ton Quyen, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Wood and Forestry Product Association, said Vietnamese exports of rattan and bamboo products have had advantages due to their cheaper labour prices and production costs against other regional countries and traditional products.

However, those products have faced competition from counterparts made by regional countries, said Quyen.

Local enterprises have lacked knowledge about fashions and demand for rattan and bamboo products in export markets, had lower outputs and had no export strategies on large scales, he said.

Further, Nguyen Manh Dung, director of the Agro-Forestry, Seafood Processing and Salt Industry Department, quoted the Mekong Bamboo Programme as saying that the world bamboo market reached 12 billion USD in 2009 and is expected to increase to 17 billion USD.

That is a good news for industrial bamboo processing enterprises throughout the world, especially firms in Vietnam and China, Dung said.

However, most local firms in the rattan and bamboo processing industry are small-sized enterprises and have not had enough capital to update their technology and expand production, he said.

To enter the world market, local firms should change the structure of their operations by 2020, offering a mix of 30 percent traditional products and 70 percent new products, the experts said.

With the new structure, the industry expects to take in 1 billion USD from exports, including 700 million USD from products that are processed on an industrial scale, they said.

The industry should also promote advertising and market research for products.

It should also develop support industries for the processing to increase its value, quality and competitiveness of the product, they said.-VNA