International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

Dutch-Sino-East Africa Bamboo Development Programme

China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda



Supporting poverty reduction, sustainable development, climate change action and international trade

At present, East Africa’s bamboo sector remains largely untapped, despite the region having sub-Saharan Africa’s largest natural bamboo forests and accounting for around 3-4% of the world’s total known bamboo coverage. Low value products and a lack of capacity to adhere to international standards have resulted in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda’s exclusion from a global export trade in bamboo products already valued at over USD1.8 billion.

In response to this challenge, the Dutch-Sino-East Africa Programme is applying experiences and lessons learned from the hugely successful transformation of Asia and Europe’s bamboo market to East Africa, thus enabling Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to fully participate in and benefit from the new bamboo economy of the twenty-first century.

The program builds on Chinese and Dutch expertise in bamboo value chain development, product design, marketing and standardization to help East Africa unlock the vast potential of its indigenous bamboo resources while contributing to green economic growth, international trade and investment between Europe, China and East Africa. INBAR has developed this program design via national consultations with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda and liaison with Chinese and Dutch partners.

A summary of the Dutch-Sino-East Africa Programme can be read here.

The main project activities include:

  • Conducting national bamboo resource assessments for Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, using the latest GIS remote sensing technology;
  • Assessing the market conditions for Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda’s bamboo sectors;
  • Building capacity and transferring technology for East Africa bamboo producers – including training funded by China’s Ministry of Commerce on bamboo handicrafts creation, bamboo furniture and handicraft processing and bamboo industry development;
  • Development of technical guidelines on bamboo products and processing;
  • Raising awareness of bamboo products’ market potential among households, public sector procurement programs and businesses;
  • Building partnerships between China, Europe and East Africa;
  • On-farm planting and land restoration.


In 2017, almost 2000 participants were trained on bamboo propagation, planting, sustainable harvesting and management. Around 300 hectares of degraded land were restored with bamboo, and some 200 households planted additional plants in their farms, homesteads and as shelter beds.

The Dutch-Sino-East Africa Programme is a key example of trilateral cooperation, and a crucial part of INBAR’s work towards UN SDG 17: partnership for sustainable development.