Don't downplay the enormous economic potential of bamboo

By
Josephine Nyarkoh/ Fawzia Seidu, GNA

Fumesua (Ash), Aug 30, GNA – The government
has been urged to take deliberate steps to substantially increase bamboo
production to support the growth of the nation’s economy.

Mr. Michael Kwaku, the Country Director for
the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), said it was important
to give strong backing to commercial bamboo farming because of the enormous
potential to create jobs and lift many from poverty.

Making the call through the Ghana News
Agency (GNA) in Fumesua near Kumasi, he said bamboo could serve as vital raw
material for furniture, paper and pulp industry.

Newsprint, toilet paper and cardboard, he
indicated, could also be made from it and this would help to conserve the
nation’s forests.

The other high point was that it was could
be useful to the textile, food and chemical industries.

Mr. Kwaku touched on the economic viability
and sustainability of commercial bamboo farming and said it could be harvested
for well over 40 years.

“Once, it starts growing, bamboo remains
rooted in the soil, producing new shoots each year which helps to secure the
soil and also maintain slope stability.”

He said Ghana could learn from countries
like China and Ethiopia.

In China, the bamboo industry is employing
nearly eight million people and the figure is expected to hit 10 million by
year 2020.

Ethiopia is home to about 70 per cent of all
African bamboo and employs more than 1,000 people.

Mr. Kwaku noted that it could protect
watersheds, utilized for intercropping, create shade for other crops, to serve
as windbreak and natural mulch to provide drought protection.

The INBAR has been promoting bamboo
production in the West African sub region through awareness campaign to help
people to appreciate its economic potential.

GNA

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