Challenge of Industrial Production and Processing of Rattans in Nigeria
The occurrence, harvesting and processing of rattan is a major topic of discussion in most parts of Africa and Asia in view its role in poverty alleviation, employment generation and foreign exchange earnings. While the rattan sector has been a major foreign exchange earner in many countries in Asia and some parts of Africa most especially Central Africa, Ghana and Cameroon, the contrary is the case with Nigeria. The rattan industry in Nigeria is constrained by poor finished products which are occasioned by the harvesting and processing methods employed. Most rattan operations are carried out without any form of mechanization and without following standard processing procedures. This reduces quality of out and their inability to compete with export market. To remove the challenges facing rattan development locally, it is important to improve the harvesting and processing methods. As rattan harvesting and processing are carried out by hand by artisans in Nigeria, government should facilitate their access to investible funds. This will promote access to modern processing methods by operatives within the sector. Likewise, sustainable management of rattan stands, plantation development and research and development into rattan siliviculture and ecology, plantation technology and innovative technologies for low cost mechanization and automation within the sector has become imperative. To foster sustainable development of the sector and ensure it becomes a virile substitute or complementary raw material to wood in the wood sector of the national economy, government should mainstream the sector into the industrial sector of the economy. This could be achieved through establishment of industrial rattan processing clusters in relevant zones in Nigeria. This initiative will enhance mechanization of the sector, promote innovation through training, and enhance the marketing of product globally. This will also assist in the provision of infrastructure.
Keywords: Rattan, mechanization, innovation, clusters seasoning, progenies.