Farmers Training on “Broom Stick” Production
for Better Quality and Increased Value
The Louang Prabang Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (LPB PAFO), The Agriculture and Forestry Office of Phonesai District (PS DAFO), the Natural Resource and Environment Office of Xieng Ngeun District (XG DoNRE) and The Agro-Biodiversity Initiative (TABI) have together provided support to and organized training courses aimed at increasing the skills and ability of broom stick producers to make new broom sticks with high quality and added value in the target villages of Phonesai and Xieng Ngeun districts. The training courses were organized into two sessions in March and April 2016:
(i) Session 1 was organized between 14 to 18 March 2016 in Phak Hok Nursery and TSC campus with a total of 24 participants, whereof 15 women (63%), representing five target villages of Sopchia Cluster Village of Phonesai District. Four technical specialists or trainers were hired from Ton Pheung District of Bo Keo province.
(ii) Session 2 took place the 26th to 29th of April 2016, targeting a total of 26 (16 women) villagers from five villages in Kio Ya Village cluster of Xieng Ngeun District. Transfer of technical knowledge of high quality broom sticks were carried out by four skilled individuals who had been selected as farmer to farmer trainers from the first training session in Phak Hok Nursery and TSC.
The two training courses were also well facilitated by the Development Environment Community Association (DECA).
Prominent leaders from the two districts also took active part, facilitating, supervising and following up the training courses, especially Mr. Sichanh Latsami, governor of Phonesai District and Dr. Somvang Douang Avane, DG-Cabinet of Xieng Ngeun District.
The training courses for were mainly aimed at promoting local indigenous knowledge to increase skills and abilities of broom stick producers and also to provide support for sustainable use of local natural resources and NTFP by adding value to the product and by developing connections to local and nationwide markets.
The two training sessions resulted in improved broom making techniques which enabled the farmers to sell the brooms to local markets as well as to Vientiane Capital City markets. The broom grass and raw materials, were collected both from natural habitats and from domestic gardens.
1 kg of broom grass can be used to produce 3 broom sticks, that can sell for about 10,000 Kip/stick (total 30,000 Kip). After the training sessions, the Phonesai farmers could produce and sell 384 sticks to a total amount of 3,840,000 kip. This is to be compared to the revenue made from selling the natural broom grass (without processing) that only amounts to 6,000 Kip/kg.
This activity has enhanced villagers awareness and willingness to manage, protect and sustainably use their local NTFP resources.
The Agro-Biodiversity Initiative (TABI), not only provided financial supports to these training courses to 50 farmers, including 31 females (62.5%) in 10 target villages of the two districts mentioned above. TABI also provided funds to broom stick producers in 5 target villages of Phonesai District worth 2,000,000 kip per village, total amount of 10,000,000 kip, to establish revolving funds. In order to strengthen the management of those funds, TABI also organized training specifically for fund management and then transferred full responsibility to the revolving fund management committees established in each village.
News: Phounsavanh Phanthavongsy_Provincial Coordinator, DDG. Planning Office-PAFO