International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

Developing bamboo and rattan standards in Africa

17 Nov 2021

On 2-5 November 2021, experts from the INBAR Task Force on Sustainable Bamboo Management met in Accra, Ghana to work on a range of bamboo standards. The meeting was held alongside a capacity-building workshop for representatives of 11 countries, on how to create standards for bamboo products. Both activities were part of the South-South and Triangular Cooperation initiative, which is run by China and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as part of the Inter-Africa Smallholder Farmers’ Livelihood Development Programme.

INBAR’s Task Force on Sustainable Bamboo Management aims to increase knowledge and inform practice about how to sustainably manage bamboo resources. A major output of the Task Force is to produce voluntary guideline standards that will boost sustainable management of bamboo forests and farms, as well as trade. Developing and monitoring standards for bamboo products—to ensure they are safe, reliable and have a consistently high quality—is a critical way to improve their quality and exportability, and helps build value chains in international markets. However, currently few countries apply standards for bamboo products.

At this meeting, 17 Task Force experts from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zambia worked on a number of voluntary guideline standards, including step-by-step guides on the use of bamboo for landscape restoration and criteria for certifying bamboo plantations.

Alongside the meeting, INBAR co-hosted a capacity-building workshop on developing bamboo standards. The workshop, which was hosted with the African Organisation for Standardisation and supported by the Ghana Standards Authority, included representatives from national standards authorities and bamboo companies from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Trainees were introduced to existing technical guidelines, given advice on how to develop or adapt bamboo standards and monitor compliance, and encouraged to raise awareness among producers about the standard requirements for bamboo products in international markets.

In the workshop, INBAR presented eight standards which were developed as part of the first phase of the Dutch-Sino-East Africa Bamboo Development programme and can be adopted by national standardisation bodies, including: the terminology of bamboo and bamboo products; bamboo charcoal; bamboo charcoal for fuel; bamboo curtains; the quality grading of main bamboo shoots; plaited bamboo products; and general technical requirements for bamboo pole and plybamboo furniture. These standards are suitable for countries to adapt into their own national standards.

For more information, please contact Rene Kaam, rkaam [at] inbar [dot] int

For more information about INBAR’s work on standards, read here.

Participants at the workshop came from countries across Africa.