Homestead Bamboo Farming Systems Development in Ethiopia
INBAR conducted a homestead bamboo farming training and planted 4000 bamboo seedlings that covered around seven hectares of homestead land in Ethiopia.
On August 2021, the INBAR East Africa Regional Office conducted a homestead bamboo plantation and management training and establishment of homestead plantation in three intervention clusters – Sidama, Oromia and SNNPRS. The training reached 324 smallholder farmers and more than ten seedlings were handed to each trainee farmer. The training was focused on demonstrating pit preparation, weed cleaning, seedling handling and transportation, plantation and tending operations for the trainee smallholders.
The farmers were then brought to their own homesteads and planted 4000 bamboo seedlings that covered around seven hectares of land. The trainees were happy in obtaining the seedlings and further, they requested a follow-up training on bamboo farm sustainable management and harvesting, and bamboo cottage making. As such, the programme is now planning training for farmers and local artisans on sustainable management and harvesting of bamboo farms and skill development training for furniture making and crafts.
Homestead bamboo farming is an integral part of rural family life. By planting fast-growing bamboo on their land, farmers can restore lost vegetation cover and keep soil erosion in check. Once established, bamboo becomes a perennial source of nutritious feed for their animals, offers poles for construction and provides a source of fuel. In hilly terrain, farmers can plant bamboo, which is known to prevent landslides. Without bamboo to check their momentum, rivers originating from the mountains rush straight into the valleys, causing massive soil erosion and flooding. Planting bamboo along these steep slopes is the only sustainable solution to the problem.
The Dutch-Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Programme is a triangular and South-South cooperation mechanism that support livelihood development, food security, and better environmental management by developing robust bamboo value chains and a sustainable bamboo industry in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. It aspires to develop the skills of rural poor and rural women required for establishing and maintaining a homestead bamboo plantation and use it as a source of socio-economic benefits by supplying housing materials, agricultural implements, raw materials for handicrafts and furniture at a cheap rate and generating employment both in the harvesting and cottage industries. INBAR has been working on a large scale and small-scale restoration of degraded land and sustainable management of bamboo forests and farms in East Africa. It has set a target of reaching 10,000 smallholders to cover 5000 hectares of land in three beneficiary countries.