Rattan & Bamboo Sector
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Myanmar bamboo and rattan – the best kept secret in home decoration

Unique handmade products of top-quality renewable materials

1. Intro

Key products
In Myanmar’s cottage industries, local artisans skilfully handcraft rattan and bamboo into beautiful home products such as furniture, panels, mats and utensils. These renewable materials are also fast becoming popular materials in the construction sector, where bamboo poles and parquet are used as unique features in commercial and residential building projects.

The three most popular product groups that Myanmar currently exports are:

  • Rattan ware – HS-code 460 212
  • Rattan and bamboo furniture – HS-code 940 381
  • Bamboo parquet – HS-code 440 921

International buyers point out that rattan ware from Myanmar is heavier in weight than similar products from other Southeast Asian countries. This is because the higher density of Myanmar’s rattan species translates to a sturdier structure, which helps to maintain shape and makes the products last longer.

2. Why buy
  1. Producers in Myanmar are highly experienced in co-creation. They have been developing products together with their international buyers for more than 10 years, in more than 40 countries.
  2.  As a country of origin, Myanmar is still very exotic and ‘new’, which makes “Made in Myanmar” products unique and intriguing in the eyes of international shoppers.
  3.  Myanmar is home to an abundance of rattan forests, and currently uses just 5 of its 33(!) different rattan species for commercial purposes. This means there is a great untapped supply of this renewable material, with its characteristically high density.
  4. The craftspeople of Myanmar specialise in unique traditional weaving styles and patterns. Their weaving is close, tight, even and neat, with intricate and detailed designs anchored in local traditions.
  5. As producing these rattan and bamboo products is mainly a cottage industry, the capacity is vastly expandable. There is a huge potential to readily increase manpower on demand.
  6.  In Myanmar’s rattan and bamboo sector, international buyers buy directly from local businesses that hire makers from rural communities. This means that the local communities directly benefit from these orders.

“Ten years ago, as a wholesaler, I used to import a lot of my rattan collection from Vietnam, Indonesia and a few from Myanmar. After a few containers, some of my clients commented that they prefer the ‘heavier’ rattan products that were from Myanmar and I have not stopped ordering from Myanmar since.”

– Ellen (Brouwer Founder CEO), The Netherlands

3. Industry sector
  • The sector creates jobs for women in remote villages and reduces poverty.
    • Although the workers in the harvesting stage are mainly male, 70% of workers in the production and finishing stages are female (MRBEA – Myanmar Rattan & Bamboo Entrepreneurs’ Association, October 2021).
  • MRBEA protects Myanmar’s rattan forests and promotes policy shaping to ensure the availability of raw materials to value-added producers.
  • MRBEA and the industry’s key players have initiated sustainable plantation projects to boost the positive impact of rattan and bamboo industry.
    • A detailed documentary on the Green Move Project (Bamboo Plantation Project) can be found on mrbea.com
Figure 1: The wide distribution of rattan forests across Myanmar
4. Internationalisation
Figure 2: Rattan and bamboo exports from Myanmar, in USD

“My clients love the rattan tabletop items from Myanmar. The quality is simply the best and the clients keep asking for more. The only struggle for me in 2021 was the increase in the cost of shipping because of Covid but even then, I could not lower my order quantities because the demand from my customers was so high.”

– Emilio, Italy

5. Companies & structure
• Total Number of Rattan Speciality Companies – 37
• Total Number of Bamboo Speciality Companies – 34

All companies are registered in the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). Most of the exporting companies (13 Rattan Exporters and 11 Bamboo Exporters) are highly experienced (10 to 20 years). As Yangon is the only port in Myanmar, most companies have factories for quality control and finishing in the city, while the production mainly occurs in the village production units. On average, the companies employ between 80-200 people in Yangon and 1000-2000 people in the villages.

6. Role of support organisations

CBI – Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries – the Netherlands

CBI has developed an export project for the home decoration & home textiles sector in Myanmar in the period 2019-2022. To make the sector more export-competent and enable it to better grasp European market opportunities, CBI provides Business Export Coaching for SMEs. Individual Export Coaching sessions focus on developing and implementing an Export Marketing Plan (EMP), product development and export business development. CBI also facilitates direct export links with European buyers, via market entry activities that connect producers with buyers.

MRBEA – Myanmar Rattan & Bamboo Entrepreneurs’ Association

MRBEA is the leading organisation in Myanmar that connects the world with the rattan and bamboo handicraft sector, by fostering networking with potential international buyers and other organisations. The association has 346 members – 65 corporate members and 281 personal members. It acts as a governing organisation by setting up guidelines for quality standards and social responsibility for its members, and regulations for design protection. As the representative organisation of the sector, MRBEA also contributes to policy shaping to promote the rattan and bamboo industry in Myanmar’s socioeconomic and environmental development policies.

MRBEA also provides a variety of services for international buyers:

  • By carefully vetting its member companies, MRBEA can connect international buyers to a range of reliable and trustworthy suppliers.
  • MRBREA offers information on rules and regulations, customs, logistics, and how to do business in Myanmar.
  • If an international buyer is looking to order high volumes, MRBEA can facilitate collaboration and help expand the capacity in the various village production units.


“I am happy to continue ordering from my Myanmar supplier because I know I can count on them with regards to quality, consistency and timely delivery.”

– Steve, UK