INBAR Country Director Michael Kwaku has reiterated the critical role bamboo plantations play in guaranteeing an alternative raw material in the industrial wood processing sector of Ghana and in West Africa.
Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, former Minister for Environment, Science and Technology & Innovation, has assured the wood industrial players in Ghana that the government is already stepping up efforts to make sure that at least 60 per cent of materials used in building and construction are indigenously sourced by 2015, a move that could help the environment and the local economy. The Minister revealed that the cabinet has already approved a housing policy for Ghana and that greater use of local materials such as bamboo for the construction of schools, market stalls, public toilets and affordable housing under the policy is fully covered.
The two statements were contained in a speech delivered at the first ever Bamboo Colloquium held in Kumasi-Ghana under the second phase of Ghana’s action plan on the use of local raw materials in the building and construction industry.
With the cost of housing and infrastructure on the rise, Dr. Oteng-Adjei hopes that using bamboo as an indigenous raw material in the construction industry could help reduce the import fees on building materials, help keep capital flow in Ghana and provide employment for many young citizens.
Dr. Victor Agyemang, Director of the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), urged corporate bodies, environmentalists and non-governmental organisations to invest in bamboo cultivation and plantations. He said this would serve as an excellent alternative raw material as firewood and charcoal and acknowledges bamboo’s long history of providing products for human survival, particularly in Asia.
INBAR’s West Africa office based in Ghana is continuously liaising with scientific communities in Ghana and Member States in West Africa to share research and technology and work on challenges involved in the sustainable cultivation and use of bamboo for housing in Ghana. INBAR hopes its presence in Ghana and network in West Africa would enhance economic growth and environmental benefit from the use of bamboo.