Delegates discovered the bamboo sector development of Kenya in a recent study tour held in the country.
From 28 November to 2 December 2021, in collaboration with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), INBAR organised in Kenya the in-country bamboo study tour. The tour gathered about 35 delegates from Belgium, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Germany, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda, with the objective of enhancing the impact of the Inter-Africa Bamboo Smallholder Farmers Livelihood Development Programme by transferring solutions, knowledge, skills and technologies within Africa and from China. The study tour was supported by the government of P.R. China, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The tour offered an excellent platform on one hand, to all delegates to share experiences from their respective countries and on the other hand to learn from the experiences of Kenya’s bamboo development sector. In his opening remarks, Dr. Joshua Cheboiwo, CEO, KEFRI emphasised the political will of the government of Kenya to sustainably develop the bamboo industry. For example last year the Government enacted a law that made bamboo a cash crop in Kenya. Thanks to this policy, smallholder farmers in Narok county are now planting bamboo for cash revenue.
Delegates appreciated the holistic development of the bamboo value chain in Kenya where companies like Green Pot Enterprises have established bamboo nurseries, plantations for restoration purposes and bamboo culm production. The company is now in the process of building a bamboo factory Park in Narok that will manufacture ply-bamboo boards, toothpicks, COVID-19 swap sticks, skewer sticks, among others. Likewise, a company called Ecopole is making power transmission poles using bamboo.
As a sideline of the in-country study tour, INBAR officers held bilateral meetings with the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the African Standardisation Organisation in Nairobi to join efforts on the development of bamboo standards for Africa with the goal of removing a non-tariff barrier to trade within the framework of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.