International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

Enhancing bamboo-based economic activities in Kenya 

17 May 2021

INBAR recent training sessions in Kenya focused on bamboo restoration and sustainable management, value chain development, and clean energy. 

INBAR has conducted three training sessions in Kenya. The sessions have benefited more than 150 participants from youth groups, local communities, government departments and the private sector. These sessions were:  

The training session conducted on 15 to 19 March 2021 and in collaboration with the Kenyan Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) focused on imparting skills on bamboo furniture weaving and handicrafts, bamboo treatment, storing, grading, scrubbing, polishing, and marketing of final products. The training was facilitated by Mr. Charles Gitau and Ann Wanja of KEFRI and brought together a total of 20 participants from different youth groups, cognizant of the fact that bamboo can play a significant role in tapping youth creativity and translating that into employment creation and income generation.

The youth group training on bamboo furniture at KEFRI. Photo credit: Teddy Odhiambo (KEFRI)

The training session conducted on 25 and 26 March 2021 in Kibirong Koyo, Nandi County and attended by 70 participants focused on four topics: raising awareness of the potential of bamboo at the local, national, and international level; considerations and techniques for bamboo plantations establishment and intercropping; methods for sustainable harvesting and management of bamboo; and general principles and tools for disease and pest management in bamboo plantations. The contents of this session are key ones to a feasible bamboo sector development, due to the fact that with sustainable management of the bamboo plantations the survival rate of bamboo is enhanced, the yield per hectare can increase, and the harvesting challenges are minimised.  

Trainees participate in bamboo age identification using different colours

The training session was conducted on 25 to 26 March 2021, where 70 bamboo farmers in Keringet, Nakuru County acquired skills in producing bamboo charcoal and briquette from their own farms. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the demand for household and commercial clean energy sources is increasing with about 82 per cent in urban and 34 per cent in rural areas in Kenya. After the session, the farmers have agreed to form a cooperative through the government’s support. 

Training on bamboo charcoal and briquettes. Photo Credit: James Kimwemwe (KEFRI)

 Kenya is yet to tap into the enormous benefits that bamboo-based activities can bring to the economy. To support this economic development and environmental targets through the bamboo sector, INBAR has been playing an active role in Kenya since 2001. Kenya is one of the target countries of the Dutch-Sino-East Africa Bamboo Development Programme, alongside Ethiopia and Uganda.  Through these training sessions, the participants can become aware of the growing competitiveness in the bamboo market and acquire the necessary skills for it.