International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

Bamboo and Rattan Industry Development Symposium in Ghana 

5 Aug 2021

INBAR has organised a symposium in Ghana to improve bamboo and rattan value chain conditions.

INBAR West Africa Regional Office (WARO) organised a 2-day Regional Symposium on bamboo and rattan development in Africa under the theme “Investing in Bamboo as a Productive Sector of the Economy” from 22- 23 July 2021 in Accra, Ghana. The symposium is part of activities under the China-IFAD South-South Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) Facility, which seeks to improve bamboo and rattan value chain conditions through increased awareness, improved policy framework, investment promotion and enhanced knowledge transfer between technical experts from beneficiary countries. 

The symposium brought together investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers, programme managers, standard experts and civil society leaders to discuss innovative ways of developing a vibrant bamboo and rattan economy in African countries. The symposium also discussed mechanisms and policies that could leverage trade and investment to transform bamboo and rattan resources into high-quality competitive market products. It also provided a platform to deliberate on the opportunities and challenges confronting the development of bamboo-based economies in African countries. Participants came from Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. A major highlight of the symposium was the promotion of South-South cooperation between African countries on knowledge management, investment and best practices in sustainable bamboo and rattan sector development  

 Addressing participants at the opening ceremony of the symposium, Hon. Benito Owusu Bio, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana, urged African countries to embrace innovative ways of harnessing bamboo and rattan materials to establish viable ventures that would contribute significantly to productive green economies. He emphasised the need for African countries to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to boost investment and trade in the bamboo and rattan sector.  

Hon. Benito Owusu Bio, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana

 “We must also capitalise on the presence of the African Continental Free Trade Area to develop a globally competitive bamboo and rattan industry to sustain the growth and development of bamboo and rattan resources across the continent”.
 Hon. Benito Owusu Bio 

Hon. Owusu Bio also highlighted the Government of Ghana’s commitment through the inclusion of bamboo and rattan in the Green Ghana Initiative. The Green Ghana Initiative led by the government aims at increasing tree canopy, restore degraded lands and set Ghana on the path towards a low-carbon economy. Under the initiative, the country aims to achieve a planting target of 2000 hectares per annum using bamboo and rattan. He expressed optimism about plans to find long-term sustainable landscape management solutions to Ghana’s land degradation, deforestation and forest degradation problems.   

Key takeaways from the regional symposium  

At the end of the symposium, participants highlighted the critical importance of the symposium in the following ways:  

Recommendations from symposium participants 

Following a brainstorming session on the themes of the symposium, participants proposed among others, the following recommendations to improve the bamboo and rattan sector in Africa. 

Participant from Cameroon

Globally, we are witnessing a growing demand for bamboo and rattan materials. This is in line with the shift towards sustainable production and consumption of renewable resources. With an industry valued at USD 39 billion in 2018, China undeniably remains the world’s largest producer of bamboo and rattan products. Other key exporters include the European Union, Indonesia, Vietnam, the USA, the Philippines and Thailand. Highly processed bamboo and rattan-based commodities such as flooring, panels, cladding, furniture and woven items comprise the increasingly large share of international exports. 

Bamboo and rattan represent important resources in the lives of rural communities in Africa. The current bamboo markets in African countries are centred around the harvesting of bamboo for construction poles, basic furniture, handicraft, charcoal, briquette, and rudimentary housing construction materials in the rural areas. African countries are yet to unearth the potential value of bamboo that could alleviate poverty, create jobs and improve national economies.  To transform the bamboo and rattan sector into a valuable and viable industry, INBAR and its partner institutions are enabling Africa countries to develop sustainable bamboo and rattan value chains through the sustainable production of seedlings, management of plantation and natural stands, harvesting and processing into high-quality products for the global market.  

Participants of the symposium came from Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Tanzania

INBAR continues to foster partnership and enhance knowledge exchange between Member States through targeted interventions such as this symposium to improve the sector. It is expected that participants upon return to their respective countries will adapt lessons learnt from the symposium to deepen their advocacy on bamboo and rattan mainstreaming as well as develop sustainable business models to improve the bamboo and rattan value chains in their countries.