22 April 2020 – INBAR has been supporting cooperation between the Chinese and Ecuadorian governments for more than two decades, with a variety of collaborative projects, including several bilateral study tours and training programmes. In 2019, the Ecuadorian and Chinese governments agreed on three bilateral training programmes throughout the year to inject new energy into the Ecuador’s bamboo sector.
2019 was the first year that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has sponsored training programmes both in China and in a receiving country in the same year. Jin Wei, INBAR’s Capacity Building Manager, said of the 2019 Training Programmes that they represented “a learning opportunity for leading professionals and practitioners in the country, plus a technical enhancement targeting value-addition.”
“I can see that the effects and impact the three workshops generated are triple those of three separate one-way activities.”
First Training Programme in China: The 2019 Training Workshop for Bamboo Processing Technologies for Ecuador
The “2019 Training Workshop on Bamboo Processing Technologies for Ecuador”, sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce and co-organised by INBAR’s research partner in China, the International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR), was launched on 13 August 2019 with four key recommendations from the preliminary stakeholder focus group tour carried out to Ecuador earlier that month integrated into its design. The workshop targeted senior experts and technicians active in the Ecuadorian bamboo sector, some of whom were recommended by INBAR’s Latin America and the Caribbean Office. The comprehensive learning process encompassed eight keynote lectures, visits to 22 demonstration sites in Zhejiang Province and a dozen or so on-site face-to-face exchanges with Chinese stakeholders, in addition to nine days of pratical skills-based training. Through this packed schedule, participants got first-had experience of some of China’s most innovative and effective bamboo development technologies.
E. Mr. Carlos Larrea Dávila, Ambassador of Ecuador to China, attended the closing ceremony of the course, in his remark, he confirmed that the sustainable development of bamboo sector in Ecuador could be beneficial to the country’s growing green economy. He entrusted the participants with the arduous tasks of fighting against poverty and realising sustainability by strategically utilising bamboo resources.
Concurrent Training Courses in Ecuador
On 8 October 2020, the final two bilateral training programmes opened;
- 2019 Ecuador Bamboo Industry Value-Addition Training Workshop
- 2019 Ecuador Bamboo Industry Sustainable Development Training Workshop
These workshops, both sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, launched simultaneously in the Ecuadorian provinces of Manabí and Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas respectively and provided training for a total of 107 skilled artisans and technicians. The workshops were implemented by INBAR’s Chinese partner, research institute the International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR). ICBR selected senior level researchers and representatives from China’s state-level heritage organisations to provide expertise for the two workshops, which were held on such varied topics as bamboo nursery management, high yield forest management for culm and shoot purposes, biomass data collection and sample plot construction, raw material preservation, and handicraft- and furniture-making. 330 woven crafts and more than 30 pieces of fine furniture were produced by the trainees for use or sale in Portoviejo, the capital of Manabí.
Feedback from participants, local government and other stakeholders is a key way to allow INBAR to reflect on the training courses and their impact. It is hoped that the positive feedback from these groups will translate into employent opportunities and poverty alleviation in rural areas.
The participants’ reflection session showed that China’s technology development and extension mechanism, concepts on bamboo for green development, government’s consistency and scientific policy-making, the industrial structure for full bamboo biomass utilisation and the multi-participatory development model were the learning points of Ecuadorians. In the reflections, participants indicated that the workshop experiences greatly increased their willingness and confidences in bamboo development, while at the same time, they realised the needs for the advanced experiences and technologies from China, which directly inspired new initiatives to bring the bamboo industrialisation process in Ecuador into a new level. One participant, a climate change engineer, mentioned that the experience of coming to China had “opened [his] eyes to the possibilities of bamboo.”
“Seeing the whole value chain and gaining first hand experience of whata key part bamboo can play will help me enormously when I return to Ecuador and work on bamboo projects.”
INBAR hopes that this two-way multistakeholder model can provide a blueprint for long-lasting and successful industry development and bilateral cooperation, and looks forward to working with the Chinese and Ecuadorian governments, and other Member State governments, to put further such training activties into place.
Watch INBAR Capacity Building Manager Jin Wei talk about bamboo in Ecuador below.