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In conversation with… the International Fund for Agricultural Development

INBAR News
1Aug

Charlotte Salford represented the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as a key speaker at the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress 2018. INBAR spoke to Ms. Salford about IFAD and INBAR’s close collaboration, and the strategic importance of China for South-South cooperation with bamboo.

What are your impressions of the first Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress?

I am very excited to be here. At IFAD we are hoping to do more with INBAR, including a very interesting new agreement with Africa [the new Sino-Africa project, signed between IFAD and INBAR at the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress]. This grant is expected to touch on four important areas in our work on poverty reduction – scaling up and diversifying existing bamboo value chains, restoring degraded areas, promoting the integration of bamboo into country development plans and enhancing South-South cooperation within Africa and between China and Africa.

I think this Congress has shown that bamboo has amazing solutions to offer the Agenda 2030. Through growing bamboo around the world, we can have a greener planet.

Tell us a little about IFAD’s work with INBAR.

INBAR has been a strong partner for IFAD in promoting poverty alleviation. Twenty-five years ago, IFAD and IDRC jointly established INBAR, to build smallholder bamboo value chains and technology. The results of this collaboration have been fruitful indeed!

INBAR’s targeted investments [with IFAD funding] have created more than 250,000 new rural jobs. This has helped bring more than 8 million people out of poverty, and it has significantly increased the capacity of millions of smallholders to adapt to climate change. Our collaboration has also successfully increased the contributions of both institutions towards a number of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“INBAR’s targeted investments [with IFAD funding] have created more than 250,000 new rural jobs… and have significantly increased the capacity of millions of smallholders to adapt to climate change”

 You spoke in the session on ‘Exploring Guadua bamboo’s potential in the Andean region’. Can you describe INBAR and IFAD’s planned work in the area?

The Andean region is endowed with great biodiversity – Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are home to almost 40 per cent of the world’s species. But this biodiversity is being threatened by growing urbanisation, and arable land in the region is at a premium. At the same time, those who work the land are being asked to produce ever more to meet growing food demands. So it’s not surprising that the Andean region has seen significant environmental degradation in recent years… And the impact of climate change in the region is exacerbating this pressure.

IFAD and INBAR hope to put this right through the development of a project, which will address the need to generate supplemental incomes for smallholder farmers in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, [while also] tackling the cause and effects of climate change. Bamboo plantations have great potential to improve ecosystem services while mitigating climate change. And unlike food crops, bamboo has a multitude of uses – it can be used for crafts, wood veneer and furniture making, and the roots and leaves can be used for textiles, paper pulp and ethanol production. Guadua bamboo plays an important role in the livelihoods of many people living in the mountain foothills, coast and Amazon regions.

What is China’s role in promoting the use of bamboo and rattan for socio-economic development?

We’ve heard a lot [at this Congress] about how China can alleviate poverty through bamboo.

As we know, China has managed to bring 800 million people out of poverty since IFAD started working with [the country] in 1981. However, IFAD only works with 30 million from 800 million poor in China. We now see that we have to go further out in the rural regions. Bamboo is one of the ways we can work towards job creation and poverty reduction. I am sure we will get there. China has set a great example on how to [reduce] poverty with bamboo.

I’ve also been amazed to hear at this Congress how much knowledge China has in growing bamboo and developing interesting products. China can take the lead in training others how to do this. Thanks to INBAR, we will now develop, through South-South Cooperation, further innovative approaches.

“China can take the lead in… training others how to grow bamboo and create different products.”

Based on an interview with Ms. Salford on Monday 25 June and several of her speeches during the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress.

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