The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation’s Scholarship Programme launched today, in an event attended by trainees from across the world.
10 June 2019 – The first ever participants for the INBAR Scholarship Programme attended the launch of the initiative, which took place at INBAR Headquarters in Beijing, China. Over 20 scholars from 16 countries have travelled to China to take part in the twelve-day-long training programme.
The focus of the 2019 programme is on ‘Bamboo Value Addition and Strategic Planning for Industrialisation’, and will combine theoretical training and field trips. Speaking in the opening ceremony, INBAR Director General Mr. Mchumo said that the 2019 workshop aimed “to explore how to effectively add value to bamboo and foster a sustainable sector, by learning best experiences in China”, and added his hope that trainees “will make full use of this opportunity to exchange with China’s bamboo stakeholders and with each other, to facilitate the development of a new green sector in your country or region.” For this purpose, in the coming days trainees will embark on field trips to some of the most innovative companies working in bamboo-producing regions of China: Yibin, home of the famous ‘bamboo sea’ in Sichuan province (featured image), as well as Lin’an and Anji in Zhejiang province.
The 2019 Scholarship Programme is working alongside the ongoing inter-Africa livelihood development project, which is promoting the use of bamboo among smallholder farmers in Cameroon, Ghana, Ethiopia and Madagascar. Other participants came from INBAR Member States Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Ecuador, Eritrea, Indonesia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Rwanda and Togo, as well as INBAR Observer State Costa Rica. All participants have a relevant background in forestry, the environment, natural resources management, rural development, agriculture, or related fields.
On the morning of Tuesday 11 June, in the opening ceremony for the 2019 training course, the Director General and Deputy Director General of INBAR welcomed participants. Andrés Fernando Pareja Aguirre, a training participant from Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock representing trainees on behalf of Ecuador as INBAR’s Council Chair, expressed trainees’ delight to be taking part in this course, and said that “for us, bamboo is an opportunity for the future… We are here to learn from the very special experience of China, not only in growing bamboo, but adding value to it.”
Following the opening ceremony, participants began their first day of training. Ms. Xie Chen, a forestry expert from China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration, introduced China’s forestry policy, and its national bamboo strategy 2013 to 2020, which aims to shift the country “from a bamboo resources country to a bamboo industry country.” Ms. Xie showed how China’s efforts towards forest management, reforestation and investments have increased the volume of non-timber forest products since the 1990s, while improving household income and increasing forest cover.
Ms. Jin Wei, INBAR’s training coordinator, introduced some of the many value-added products which could be made with bamboo, using Anji county in Zhejiang province as a case study. She explained how different parts of bamboo could be used to create a wide range of products, including pulp, paper, flooring and outdoor decking, charcoal and pellets for energy, fibre and handicrafts.
Mr. Trinh Thang Long, the coordinator of INBAR’s Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan for green development, discussed bamboo’s importance for climate change mitigation, particularly its ability to sequester carbon. He explained that while bamboo stands sequester less carbon than natural forests, they can store carbon at a particularly high rate, and can lock carbon into a large number of durable products over a period of time. These products can also replace more emissions-intensive or unsustainably sourced materials, such as PVC, cement or timber. Over a period of thirty years, one hectare of bamboo can store around 600 tonnes carbon in total, making it an important potential part of countries’ climate change mitigation plans.
About the INBAR Scholarship Programme
The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation’s Scholarship Programme, which runs once a year, aims to raise awareness about the potential of bamboo and rattan across INBAR’s 45 Member States, and provide very practical training and capacity-building to a team of participants.
Since its establishment in 1997 as an intergovernmental organisation, INBAR has grown from a network of nine Member States, to a global network of 45 countries around the world. Almost all of INBAR’s Member States are bamboo- and rattan-producing countries from the Global South, making the organisation an excellent mechanism for South-South cooperation. The Scholarship Programme is the newest way in which INBAR aims to increase its Member States’ capacity to use their native bamboo and rattan resources for a number of sustainable development aims.