INBAR in collaboration with the Ethiopian Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture organised the third National Policy Roundtable
INBAR has recently conducted its third national policy round table dubbed – Creating a competitive and sustainable bamboo industry in Ethiopia. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change Commission, now the Ethiopian Forestry Department (EFD) of the Ministry of Agriculture in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Present at the event were 25 representatives from the federal and regional government agencies, research and academic institutions, intergovernmental agency, private sector, and the bamboo sector association of Ethiopia to discuss the progress made in the bamboo sector, discuss existing and emerging challenges, and deliberate on ways to transform the sector to compete at global level and contribute significantly to the national GDP.
A major outcome of the policy roundtable was the call by participants for stakeholders, led by the Government and its developing partners, to put in place adequate infrastructure and technology for bamboo resource production, bamboo processing, and transfer of skills and knowledge to various actors in the bamboo value chain. Key actors must push for the bamboo sector that is economically relevant and valuable in contributing to the national economy. High-quality products from innovative bamboo processing are likely to attract more consumers.
Speaking on behalf of the Ethiopian Forest Development, His Excellency, Mr. Kebede Yimam, expressed his profound appreciation to INBAR for its continued effort towards promoting the inclusive and sustainable development of the bamboo industry in Ethiopia. He reiterated Ethiopia’s position as the first African country with significant progress in bamboo industry development. From small and medium enterprises to large-scale bamboo processing industries, Ethiopia has been demonstrating to the rest of Africa how an enabling policy environment and investments in the bamboo sector can create sustainable jobs and drive economic growth.
In his presentation, Dr. Ernest Nti Acheampong, the Programme Manager of the Inter-Africa Smallholder Bamboo Livelihood Development Programme, noted that while significant progress has been made, the bamboo industry is yet to create a competitive market at both domestic and global levels. Current statistics put Ethiopia’s bamboo export of the global market share at 0.04%. The bamboo industry is fraught with several challenges, such as low level of investments, lack of infrastructure, lack of capital or financial facilities for bamboo sector development, absence of standards to guide high-quality product design and development, and lack of appropriate channels for global market penetration, among others.
Despite these challenges, the Government of Ethiopia remains committed to developing a viable and competitive bamboo industry in the country. Presenting the implementation progress of the National Bamboo Strategy and Action Plan, Dr. Tamirat Teshome, the INBAR focal person at EFD, highlighted the efforts of the Government in the expansion of bamboo forest in Ethiopia. He stated that approximately 67,000 ha of bamboo forest was established in 2021, exceeding the annual target of 20,000 ha. He assured participants about the Government’s commitment to strengthen the existing bamboo value chains and to create a competitive market for bamboo products from Ethiopia.
During the plenary session of the workshop, participants raised pertinent sectoral issues and made recommendations to improve the successful implementation of the Bamboo Strategy and Action Plan of the country. They recommend the need for developing a sustainable bamboo business cluster, improving resource base by establishing strong bamboo out-grower cooperatives in economically potential bamboo regions, speeding up the process of developing and mainstreaming bamboo education curriculum, and establishing vibrant bamboo associations as essential steps to the successful implementation of the strategy.
The Government of Ethiopia, through the Ethiopia Forest Development, remains a committed partner to INBAR in the implementation of various bamboo sector programmes that have contributed to the development of bamboo infrastructure, creating jobs for smallholders, promotion of bamboo enterprises, and restoration of degraded landscapes in the country. The development of the bamboo industry in Ethiopia has the potential to contribute to the long-term economic vision of Ethiopia. There is a need for Ethiopia to stimulate investment in the bamboo industry and scale-up activities to deliver the desired socio-economic transformation.