PRESS RELEASE: NEW SINO-AFRICA PROJECT BOOSTS DEVELOPMENT BAMBOO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A new project will help develop the bamboo sectors in a number of African countries, using experience from China.
Beijing, China, 25 June 2018 (INBAR) – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) today launched a new project for bamboo sector development across countries in Africa.
The project, which was announced at the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress in Beijing, will use technologies and experience from China to scale up the bamboo sector in four countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Madagascar. The direct beneficiaries will be at least 30,000 rural smallholder farmers and community members, particularly women and youth, who will be taught about how to plant, manage and create value-added products, including charcoal, using bamboo. The project will invest over USD 3 million.
Bamboo is a grass plant which covers several million hectares of Africa. Fast growing, flexible and strong, bamboo can be used as a source of clean-burning charcoal and also has a strong market potential: in China, the bamboo sector is valued at USD 30 billion per year. It is also lightweight and easy to process, making it an ideal plant for women to use in the home. However, Africa so far accounts for little of the international trade in bamboo products, and many countries are not benefiting from this native resource.
The project aims to upscale smallholder-based bamboo value chains in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Madagascar, based on a transfer of best practices and technologies from China. As well as conducting comprehensive assessments of each country’s bamboo resources, the project will transfer technologies – including machines and techniques for producing value-added bamboo goods, including charcoal, furniture and handicrafts – to participants through training progammes. The project will also conduct capacity-building and training for policy makers, who can learn how to integrate bamboo into programmes for land restoration, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
According to Hans Friederich, Director General of INBAR, the project is a big step forward for African bamboo development: “Bamboo used to be considered ‘poor man’s timber’ in many countries, but this project will show bamboo is truly ‘green gold’ for millions of people living underneath the poverty line. As a source of renewable, clean-burning energy and a commodity, bamboo is an ideal tool for sustainable development.”
About the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR)
INBAR is an intergovernmental organisation made up of 43 Member states for the promotion of sustainable development using bamboo and rattan, including 18 Member states in Africa. It was the first intergovernmental organisation to be based in China and remains the only one in the world dedicated to bamboo and rattan.
Almost all of INBAR’s 43 Members are developing countries with bamboo and/or rattan resources. INBAR works across its Member states to promote these plants’ use for a range of sustainable development objectives, including: poverty alleviation, climate change mitigation, land restoration, earthquake-resilient construction and low-carbon product creation.
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