ADDIS ABABA- Chinese assistance is boosting the bamboo industry’s development in east African countries, an expert said on Monday.
Speaking exclusively to Xinhua, Jayaraman Durai, Regional Program Manager, International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) East Africa regional office, said Chinese assistance in technology transfer and local capacity building is helping the bamboo industry in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya to grow.
INBAR is a multilateral development organization of 44 states for the promotion of bamboo and rattan industries.
“There are various successful enterprises operating at different scales which were trained by personnel from INBAR and from China,” Durai said.
“There is already a joint Dutch-Chinese project in east African countries that aims to support government and privately-owned bamboo industries. Currently various factors such as the properties of the various bamboo species, market potential of bamboo sector, policy directions needed to boost bamboo industry, as well as capacity building and value addition needed in the bamboo sector are under study,” said Durai.
Durai said an estimated 1.4 million hectares of land in Ethiopia are covered by bamboo trees, while in Uganda and Kenya it’s estimated 50,000 and 150,000 hectares of land are covered by bamboo trees, showing that bamboo, contrary to popular perceptions, isn’t an insignificant sector.
“In these countries bamboo is used to make mats, construct houses, as energy source, for handicraft products, traditional furniture as well as being a food item showing the importance of bamboo products,” Durai told Xinhua.
“Countries like China have been able to utilize bamboo for various purposes ranging from fashion clothes, medicines to as a source of energy. There is no reason Ethiopia can’t replicate China’s success in the bamboo sector.” Durai further said.