Rwandan farmers have been fronted as a priority group to benefit from a bamboo planting fraternity spearheaded by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR).
This was revealed early last week by the visiting INBAR Director General, J. Coosje Hoogendoorn, who said that Rwanda has all it takes to gain from the immense environmental and economic benefits of bamboo trees.
“I am struck by the tremendous potential in this country.
The soil and weather are favourable for the growth of bamboo trees and I am impressed that people here have realized the importance of bamboo trees,” Hoogendoorn said.
Bamboo is one of the most productive and fastest growing plants on earth and it offers the possibility of annual selective harvesting and removal of about 15-20 percent of the total stock productivity.
Over 90 percent of bamboo carbon can be sequestered in durable products such as boards, floors, furniture, buildings, cloth, paper and charcoal.
“We did a production to consumption study with the private sector federation, trying to identify opportunities and projects where people can economically benefit from bamboo.”
Bamboo trees play an important role in controlling soil erosion, which is one of the most outstanding problems faced by farmers in Rwanda.
According to Hoogendoorn, INBAR is partnering with China to provide the capacity for bamboo processing.
She said INBAR is looking at conserving the already existing bamboo trees as well as introducing new species.
INBAR has a membership of 34 countries and Rwanda is its current chairman.
Fredrick Munyansonga, the official charged with bamboo planting in the forestry department, revealed that this partnership is likely to change lives of many people especially farmers.
“Bamboo planting has two inherently important causes, conserving the soil and alleviating poverty.
This cause should be taken seriously because it’s a total win-win undertaking,” he said.
Around 1.5 billion people around the world depend on bamboo in some way.
INBAR is an inter-governmental organization established in 1997 with a role of finding and demonstrating innovative ways of using bamboo and rattan to alleviate poverty and protect environments.
China is one of the world’s leading countries benefitting from bamboo production and processing. It’s also consumed as food sometimes.