Happy World Bamboo Day!
INBAR celebrated this, the sixth, World Bamboo Day with a seminar on Bamboo Sector Development Initiatives in the Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC), at its Secretariat in Beijing. The seminar was attended by representatives of many of INBAR’s LAC member countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela), plus Mexico and the UK, as well as construction experts from the INBAR-initiated bamboo housing expert group, and shared experiences of the rapid development of bamboo in many LAC nations over the past 15 years.
Although the region is home to hundreds of different types of bamboo, only two native bamboos are used and then only on a relatively small scale – Guadua and Chusquea – with plantations of more globally commercial bamboos, such as 200, 000 ha of imported bamboos in Argentina for riverbank stabilization, and the almost industrial scale cultivation of imported bamboo in Brazil to provide pulp for paper making, becoming increasingly important for large scale bamboo-based development.
Discussing INBAR’s recent work in Ecuador and northern Peru, Alvaro Cabrera, INBAR’s Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, said “INBAR set up a platform to which a lot of different stakeholders were invited, from the private sector to government, university researchers to producers, and we got together, discussed and came up with a plan of what we needed to do to develop bamboo.”
“Bamboo housing, for example, was traditionally developed in Colombia, so we decided to work with Colombian experts to share information and techniques to grow the bamboo construction sector in Peru and Ecuador. We trained over 800 carpenters and constructors in building with bamboo because the techniques involved are very different from wood, and it’s essential to have a group of well-trained experts to produce some demonstration buildings, and to train and guide others.” he said.
Among its many successes, the platform has led the introduction of building codes for bamboo in Ecuador and Peru, without which building with bamboo would have no legal basis, as well as improving post harvest processing to add value to bamboo poles, linking farmers and producers with designers, to come up with more marketable furniture products, and training thousands of horticulturists and foresters in best practices of bamboo growing and harvesting. World Bamboo Day is an excellent opportunity to share these successes, and promote their greater adoption.
World Bamboo Day aims to increase awareness of bamboo throughout the world and is an important day to celebrate the many and varied benefits that growing, processing and using bamboo bring to the millions of people involved with it. The inaugural World Bamboo Day was held during the World Bamboo Congress, initiated and organized by the World Bamboo Organization in Thailand in 2009, and has been celebrated on 18th September ever since. Many people have events in different parts of the world to celebrate, and you can learn more about them and contribute your own, on the World Bamboo Day website (http://worldbambooday.org/).
Dr Hans Friederich, Director General of INBAR, said: For INBAR, every day is a bamboo day, but a recognised global day is a good way to raise awareness. We hope many people will think about bamboo today, and the people it can and does help.”
So, how do you celebrate World Bamboo Day?