A Virtual Tour of Anji: INBAR’s First Online Course
The first ever INBAR online course and virtual study tour began in August.
Training is a large part of INBAR’s mission to promote sustainable development with bamboo and rattan. Whereas in previous years, INBAR has invited bamboo and rattan professionals from across its Member States to take part in international training workshops and study tours, in 2021 INBAR has adapted to the restrictions imposed by the COVID pandemic: it is bringing its training online, launching a series of new online courses.
The first course is a ‘Virtual Anji Bamboo Study Tour’. The two-part course aims to showcase the bamboo supply chain in Anji, one of the most famous bamboo-producing areas of China, through a combination of lectures and virtual tours to more than 15 sites, including bamboo forests and factories. The first part of the course ran from 24 to 26 August, and was attended by more than 200 bamboo development professionals from 53 countries.
In his opening remarks on the first day, Deputy Director General of INBAR Professor Lu Wenming welcomed all participants, and remarked that the ongoing COVID pandemic serves as a “serious reminder to humans of the need for a harmonious relationship with nature.” As a biobased renewable resource, bamboo can provide a source of “local green growth and increased resilience [for communities]… This study tour is a good opportunity for countries to learn from successful experiences from some good bamboo-developing countries like China.”
Anji county, in Zhejiang province, is a world-renowned bamboo-producing centre, and has the most developed bamboo supply chain in China. Following Professor Lu’s opening remarks, participants were shown a video introducing the development of Anji’s bamboo sector over the past 40 years, and its impact on rural poverty alleviation, economic development and ecosystem services. They were then taken on a virtual tour of a bamboo forest and met a typical local bamboo farmer, who brought the participants to his harvesting site and told them about his family’s business development and the booming bamboo eco-tourism in the village. The participants then visited a pre-processing factory, and learned more about the process of separating and treating harvested bamboos, as well as how to organise a sustainable supply of raw material.
On the second day, participants were invited to a farmhouse located in the bamboo forests, and ‘had tea’ with the owner, an Anji farmer, who discussed his experiences setting up a successful bamboo tourism business. The participants then visited a chopstick manufacturer, and heard about its journey to becoming a lucrative, efficient enterprise. On the last day, participants visited a laminated bamboo board manufacturer, a bamboo curtains and carpet manufacturer and a briquette charcoal manufacturer, learning more about the market for these products, as well as the necessary equipment and processing steps.
Throughout the three-day tour, participants were accompanied by Mr. Xuan Taotao, a Bamboo Industry Officer in Anji, who provided more information on the scale, investment and financing of the area’s various bamboo businesses.
As the virtual tour showed, the success of Anji’s bamboo sector depends on a few factors: abundant bamboo, of a species which is suitable for industrial development, like Anji’s Moso bamboo; a good background in research and technologies to do with bamboo; supportive policies and investments to the sector, which are based on scientific advice and field research.
The second part of the Anji virtual study tour will continue in October this year. Other online INBAR training courses in 2021 will include the basics of bamboo weaving, and the sustainable management of sympodial bamboo resources and bamboo for shoots production.
More information about the INBAR online training courses can be found on INBAR’s Webinar Series page.