International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

China’s Bamboo Cultural Festival 2021

21 Oct 2021

The China Bamboo Cultural Festival included a summit, exhibitions, and a visit to some of the area’s largest bamboo enterprises.

The 11th China Bamboo Cultural Festival was held in Yibin, a city in Sichuan province, China. The event, which was co-hosted by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China, INBAR, and the government of Sichuan, provided a valuable platform to display bamboo crafts in China, and to discuss the contribution of bamboo forests to sustainable development.

Yibin has been dubbed the ‘bamboo city of China’, on account of its extensive bamboo forests and well-developed bamboo industry. The area has historically been surrounded by bamboo, and is a hub for local bamboo crafts and culture, having hosted the Bamboo Cultural Festival biennially since 1997. In recent years, Yibin’s bamboo sector has expanded rapidly, partly due to President Xi Jinping’s visit to Sichuan in 2018, during which he exhorted Yibin to develop its bamboo sector. Now, the city provides an example of how bamboo can help revitalize rural areas of China. Importantly, Yibin is also home to a number of traditional Chinese bamboo cultural practices, including bamboo weaving, carving, musical instrument making and painting – all skills which were on display at the Festival.

The INBAR delegation included delegates from Member States Cameroon, Gabon, Jamaica, Rwanda, Uganda and Venezuela, as well as prospective Member States Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. His Excellency Mr. Martin Mpana, the Ambassador of Cameroon (front row, third from left), attended the Festival.

The 11th Bamboo Cultural Festival took place between 19-20 October. It was attended by hundreds of people in person, including a delegation from INBAR with representatives from eight Member and prospective Member States. A large number of online viewers also took part in virtual events, tours, and related bamboo e-commerce activities. At the opening ceremony on the first morning, a number of high-level speakers from local government spoke about the development of the bamboo sector in Yibin, and introduced opportunities to invest in the sector. Following this welcome, participants visited an exhibition of bamboo culture and crafts, and saw some of the local Chinese bamboo products on display: from traditional crafts like carving and weaving, to modern applications such as bamboo textiles.

In the afternoon, participants attended a summit to hear about how bamboo can contribute to different aspects of sustainable development in China. The summit included four keynote lectures by leading Chinese foresters, and remarks or speeches from a number of other experts, including representatives from universities, research institutes and the private sector. In the first dialogue, speakers discussed bamboo’s importance as a means of rural income, and how other areas can learn from Yibin’s extraordinary development of the bamboo sector. All speakers agreed that bamboo can play an important role in the country’s new rural revitalization strategy, which aims to modernize agriculture and production in rural areas. In the second dialogue, speakers considered the modern bamboo materials which can replace plastics, from single-use cups and packaging to PVC used in factory cooling towers. All speakers agreed that bamboo can play an important role in reducing plastic pollution, and as a low-carbon fibre for more circular economic growth.

From traditional crafts to ‘fibre of the future’: the China Bamboo Cultural Festival included displays of traditional bamboo arts, alongside more modern bamboo applications.

On the second day, participants took part in a field trip to several key bamboo sites in Yibin, including the International Bamboo Products Trading Centre, Yibin Paper Industry, and the south Sichuan ‘bamboo sea’. During the visit, experts shared more about Yibin’s environment, and the history and details behind its bamboo sector development.

The 11th Bamboo Cultural Festival is one of several events co-hosted by INBAR, as part of its partnership with Chinese bamboo partners. It is hoped that future cultural exchanges with Yibin and other leading bamboo cities can promote the development of a sustainable, pro-poor bamboo sector in different parts of China as well as in INBAR Member States around the world.