Bamboo as an alternative to tobacco

MENU

Bamboo as an alternative to tobacco

Kenya

2006
2013

Bamboo production as an alternative crop and livelihood strategy for tobacco smallholder farmers in South Nyanza, Kenya

“Since I started growing bamboo, my life has taken a different direction: I can now afford almost everything I have always wished to have.” – Thomas Mahiri, 58

Despite global policies aimed at reducing world tobacco production and use, the number of farmers engaged in tobacco farming in some parts of the world is increasing at an alarming rate. For many communities, tobacco is regarded as the only viable cash crop and there are few viable alternatives.

This was the impetus behind a South Eastern Kenya University, Maseno University, and INBAR-led project, Bamboo production as an alternative crop and livelihood strategy for tobacco smallholder farmers in South Nyanza, Kenya. The project, which took place between 2006 and 2013, aimed to establish bamboo as an alternative crop and form of livelihood across four sites in Kenya. Smallholder tobacco farmers were the main beneficiaries of this project.

This project had several components, aimed at increasing farmers’ capacity to switch from tobacco to bamboo farming. This included providing 120 farmers with bamboo seedlings; establishing nurseries for bamboo plants; and providing capacity training and materials to farmers to help with bamboo harvesting, preservation and treatment, as well as the creation of bamboo products such as handicrafts.

The project ran from 2006 to 2013, and resulted in some remarkable impacts:

– Bamboo had made a positive impact on most farmers’ livelihoods – over 75 per cent households in all sites. “This improvement was attributed to both the monetary and non-monetary benefits accrued from bamboo investment.”

– 75 per cent of farmers abandoned tobacco farming over the course of the project.

– Farmers were making use of bamboo’s other benefits. In one project site, 95 per cent of households were using bamboo to construct houses and fencing as well as handicrafts and furniture. In addition, all project sites saw a decrease in soil erosion due to bamboo planting.

– Seedlings were the main form of income for farmers, followed by bamboo products and then bamboo poles. This is likely to change over following years, as bamboo plants mature and higher value products such as furniture and handicrafts reach the market.

Overall, this project has “demonstrated great potential in providing technical advice and support to the implementation of Articles 17 and 18 of WHO-FCTC.”

The end-of-project report Bamboo production as an alternative crop and livelihood strategy for tobacco smallholder farmers in South Nyanza, Kenya can be read here. The report can be cited as: Fu, J. 2013. ‘Bamboo production as an alternative crop and livelihood strategy for tobacco smallholder farmers in South Nyanza, Kenya: Phase II’. INBAR Technical Report. INBAR, Kenya.

Project partners

Project resources

Latest Project Resources

South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies: about the project

A brochure introducing the work of the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transf...

Process of Bamboo Boat Making: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Process of Whole Culm Bamboo Furniture making: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Charcoal Production in Dome Charcoal Kiln: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Construction of Brick Charcoal Dome: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies - Project Communications and Visibility Guidelines

Describing the aims and planned communication outcomes of the INBAR-led South...

Propagating Bamboo from Seed: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Bamboo Rhizome Propagation and Planting: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Macro-proliferation of Bamboo: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Propagating Bamboo through Layering: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Propagating Bamboo through Culm Cuttings: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Propagating Bamboo through Branch Cuttings: South-South technical bulletin

A Technical Bulletin from the INBAR-led South-South Knowledge Transfer Strate...

Donors