Rattan is Indonesia‘s Potential Hidden Gem Industry

Nobody really thinks much about rattan or its potential.  Most of the time, rattan is known as a secondary raw materiral in the furniture industry.  Materials such as wood, bamboo and others are more preferred than ratten in furniture production.

As such, not many people are aware that rattan can actually be extensively used for furniture making.  When rattan are cut into sections and put together, these rattan can be as good as wood.  Furthermore, rattan accepts paints and stains just like many kind of wood that are available int the market today.  These variety and flexibillity of colours in rattan allows it to be shaped into many different styles and designs respectively.

There is also a common misconception that rattan is actually bamboo,  however, it is definitely very different from bamboo.  The characteristic of rattan are indeed different as bamboo is less flexible than rattan and it cannot bend as much as rattan does.  In addition, bamboo is hollow while rattan is a solid entity.  Due to being solid, rattan once made into furniture can last for generations.

It is also interesting to note that there are many species of rattan availabe and the thickness varies from several milimeters to 5-7 centimeters.  The strand of rattan with its skin peeled off can be used for rattan weaving.  The remainining core of the rattan can be used for other purposes including furniture making etc.  Thus, rattan is certainly a good raw material because it is  light weight, durable and very suitable for outdoor usage too.  It is also very flexible because of its “bending” properites etc.

The Indonesia furniture industry becomes unique and special as a result of the abundant natural resources that are available to be make into furniture.  The cultural diversity and high degree of innovativeness also contributes to this uniqueness of the furniture industry.

Not many know but Indonesia is probably the largest producer of rattan.  In fact, 70% of the world’s rattan comes from Indonesia and mainly from Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Sumbawa Island.

Rattan is most widely used in furniture, handicrafts and many other applications In terms of economy, rattan supports a global industry worth more than US$54 billion a year.

As information, the rattan industries currently use only some five to 10 percent of the total potential of sustainable Indonesian rattan resources. Thus, Indonesia still has huge rattan potential that can be exploited commercially, especially to increase its rattan-based product exports.

In 2011, banning the export of raw rattan in an effort to increase rattan`s added value. The decree had a positive impact on Indonesia`s rattan-based product exports.

From the data, it can be seen that Indonesia`s role in global furniture exports is still relatively small as compared to the potential of its existing raw materials.


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