Exhibitors call for government’s support in sustaining bamboo industry

By Gifty
Amofa, GNA

Accra, Sept. 20, GNA – Bamboo and Rattan
processers have called on government, among other stakeholders to support the
industry to make it sustainable.

Though government approved the adoption of the
industry’s development in 2002, as a national programme to compliment the
President’s initiative on Forest Plantation Development in Ghana, much more
needs to be done.

These concerns were raised at a two-day Bamboo
and Rattan Investment forum and exhibition held in Accra to commemorate World
Bamboo Day.

The Day falls on September 18 and this year’s
was dubbed “Harnessing the potential of Bamboo for Socio-Economics and
Environmental Development in Ghana”.

Mrs Mavis Afrifa of Bamboo Africa, a producer
of ladies’ handbags, picture frames, serving trays, among others using bamboo
and rattan, lamented that a lot of time and money go into the production of few
hand made products, making the work tedious and the products expensive.

She stressed that most Ghanaians did not value
local products but fancied imported ones, and that, she said, made marketing
difficult. This, affects the capital invested as employees would also be paid,
she stressed.

Mrs Afrifa said, to keep them in business and
especially, promote the bamboo and rattan business, financial support and the
necessary machinery would be needed, and called on government and private
entities to support their course.  

Mr Emmanuel Appiah-Kubi, Research
Scientist-Civil/Timber Engineer and an exhibitor, called on government to
invite investors to help give good finishing to their works and make it
competitive on the world market.

The machines, he stated, would help them
produce in large quantities within a short time to meet the market needs as
well as reduce the cost.

By so doing, Ghana would earn more foreign
exchange and there would be no need to borrow, he advised. 

Madam Faustina Baffour Awuah, Bamboo Natural
Stands Management Officer and Programme Administrator, highlighting the
importance of bamboo and rattan, said, they were the largest non-timber forest
products in Ghana.

She enumerated some of the benefits as source
of food, medicine, income generation (furniture, artifacts/handicrafts, foreign
exchange, materials for rehabilitating degraded lands, prevents soil erosion,
employment generation and a high potential for poverty alleviation in the rural
areas.

She said bamboo and rattan are mostly found in
the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Volta and the Western regions,
adding that, there are five local species in the Country with 15 more being
exotic.

Madam Awuah said the only challenge was the
way to maintain the already existing plantation and create more of such
plantations to expand the industry.

She called for governments’ interest and
commitment to help sustain the ready existing plantations before they become
extinct.

Some of the challenges in the industry, Madam
Awuah noted, were low technology in producing art and craft works, low
investment in the industry by the private sector, inadequate funding for Bamboo
and Rattan Development Programme (BARADEP) activities, lack of research for
suitable species and no inventory data on volume of bamboo and rattan in Ghana
to stimulate investment.

GNA

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