Minister calls for increased use of local building materials

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Joe Oteng-Agyei, has urged professionals and companies in the building industry to utilise local building materials to help the Ghanaian market to grow.

That, according to him, would reduce the import bill on building materials, retain capital and provide employment for the youth, especially within the localities.

“The utilisation of local building materials will also provide affordable housing, improve infrastructure development in the districts where indigenous building materials are located and also generate revenue,” he said. Bamboo Colloquium

Dr Oteng-Agyei said this in an address read on his behalf at the first Bamboo Colloquium at Fumesua in the Ashanti Region.

The programme, organised by the Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in collaboration with MESTI, was on the theme, “Bamboo utilisation for a greener construction and future in Ghana”.

It brought together experts in the building industry, especially bamboo use, to discuss progress made so far and how to implement the government’s policy of ensuring that local products are used in the building industry by 2015. Government’s policy

The government is seeking to ensure that by 2015 at least 60 per cent of materials used in the building and construction industry will be local building materials.

To achieve that, the Cabinet has approved a housing policy programme on the utilisation of local building materials in the construction industry, including school blocks, market stalls, public toilets and affordable housing units. Bamboo as a supplement

One of such indigenous raw materials is bamboo, which provides numerous services and products for human survival, especially in countries where knowledge of its properties and dissemination of that knowledge have been thoroughly pursued.

The trade in bamboo products and subsistence use is worth US$10 billion per year.

 Instead of timber, bamboo can be used for housing and is regarded as an excellent substitute for wood in the form of laminated bamboo boards.

Aside its availability in the country, bamboo species could also grow very fast and could also be grown to suit our specific needs in the local industry. Dwindling forest resources

The Director of FORIG, Dr Victor Kwame Agyemang, said the continued dwindling of timber in the country called for the expansion of the resource base to keep the wood industry in business.

According to him, bamboo is one of the resources which stood the chance of being a potential to be utilised for the manufacture of wood products or replace some of the dwindling species.

He said for the efficient presentation and value addition of raw bamboo, there was the need for all stakeholders in the building industry to accept bamboo as a close substitute which stood the chance of replacing most timber products.

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