Rwandans have been called upon to embrace planting of bamboo trees as a culture to safeguard the environment and improve socio-economic status of the populace and the nation as a whole.
Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, the director-general of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), made the call, yesterday, as the World marked the Bamboo Day.
The World Bamboo Day was established on September 18, 2009, at the 8th World Bamboo Congress held in Bangkok. Since then, people and businesses from around the world use this day to raise awareness on the benefits of bamboo and to promote its use in everyday products.
The day represents an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of bamboo and to improve and promote the use of bamboo and bamboo products for the sake of the environment and economy.
In a statement, Eng. Ruhamya observed that bamboo provides a rich means of livelihood and life improvement for communities.
“We are encouraging Rwandans to adopt bamboo as a way of promoting a safe and sound environment and better living conditions,” she said.
“By embracing bamboo growing culture we would be heavily contributing to the protection of our natural resources and our environment and of course we would be setting ground for a strong bamboo industry with a high economic potential.
Eng. Ruhamya also urged private sector actors to invest in the bamboo sector.
Bamboo is a valuable resource with vital ecological, commercial and socio-economic importance, according to experts.
It is widely used to control erosion, in paper and rayon manufacture, construction, architecture, engineering, handicraft, food and medicine across the world.
The plant is also credited with abilities to sequester 30 per cent more carbon than other tree species and releases 35percent more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees.
REMA urged Rwandans to adopt bamboo culture to boost their welfare and contribute to environment protection.
The Government of Rwanda promotes bamboo growing, particularly in its efforts to protect riverbanks and degraded areas. REMA is one of the institutions that have heavily invested in bamboo culture for their environmental and economic potentials.
In Rwanda, it is estimated that bamboo plantations cover 4,381 hectares of land, about 1.82 per cent of the total national forest cover.