INBAR’s South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies project, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the European Union, recently conducted a two-day technology transfer training on bamboo propagation techniques in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. The two-day class room and on-field training was aimed to fill the knowledge gaps in bamboo planting material production, and to promote large-scale bamboo plantations for environmental management and bamboo agro-forestry farming system development. This will improve the income, livelihoods and resilience of smallholder farmers in the region.
Thirty-two participants from various fields participated in the training, including researchers, lecturers, foresters, officers and farmers. Participants represented a wide range of organisations including Bahir Dar Environment and Forest Research Centre (BEFRC), Debratabor University, Bahir Dar University, Amhara Forestry Enterprise, Amhara Bureau of Agriculture and Mekele Forestry Research Center. During the training, participants were taught different bamboo vegetative propagation techniques, such as offset method, branch cutting, culm cutting, macro-proliferation, and layering. In addition, participants were shown bamboo nursery establishment and management practices.
The training was well received by the participants and they showed interest in replicating similar training with their respective beneficiaries in the region. According to Mr. Belayneh Azene, Centre Director of BEFRC, “The researchers of the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute at BEFRC learnt a lot about the methods and techniques of bamboo propagation. The training will contribute a lot [to] the successful achievement of objectives set out in our research centre and the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute at large.”
He acknowledged that even though most of the participants from BEFRC were already involved in bamboo research and development work, they were facing major challenges related to propagation techniques. However, this training helped them identify the existing gaps which could probably be responsible for the failure of bamboo propagation efforts made by the researchers. Pleased with the training, Mr. Belayneh added, “We would like INBAR to provide further training on bamboo plantation establishment and management, and bamboo utilisation, to make the training more comprehensive.”
Participants from the Bahir Dar University too commended the training and thanked INBAR for revitalising the entire Bahir Dar University group. “The training helped us in recognising the multiple ecosystem goods and services that bamboo can provide as biomass, as food, in construction, medicine, agriculture… and also to recognise bamboo’s climate change-resilient potential,” said Mr. Solomon Girmay, Bahir Dar University, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. He also revealed that among its many other plans, the university group is planning to plant bamboo seedlings to rehabilitate gully-eroded lands, include bamboo propagation and management in the academic curriculum and share their knowledge and skills with farmers related to bamboo production.