By Josephine Nyarkoh/ Fawzia Seidu, GNA
Fumesua (Ash), Aug 30, GNA – The government has been urged to take deliberate steps to substantially increase bamboo production to support the growth of the nation’s economy.
Mr. Michael Kwaku, the Country Director for the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), said it was important to give strong backing to commercial bamboo farming because of the enormous potential to create jobs and lift many from poverty.
Making the call through the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Fumesua near Kumasi, he said bamboo could serve as vital raw material for furniture, paper and pulp industry.
Newsprint, toilet paper and cardboard, he indicated, could also be made from it and this would help to conserve the nation’s forests.
The other high point was that it was could be useful to the textile, food and chemical industries.
Mr. Kwaku touched on the economic viability and sustainability of commercial bamboo farming and said it could be harvested for well over 40 years.
‘Once, it starts growing, bamboo remains rooted in the soil, producing new shoots each year which helps to secure the soil and also maintain slope stability.’
He said Ghana could learn from countries like China and Ethiopia.
In China, the bamboo industry is employing nearly eight million people and the figure is expected to hit 10 million by year 2020.
Ethiopia is home to about 70 per cent of all African bamboo and employs more than 1,000 people.
Mr. Kwaku noted that it could protect watersheds, utilized for intercropping, create shade for other crops, to serve as windbreak and natural mulch to provide drought protection.
The INBAR has been promoting bamboo production in the West African sub region through awareness campaign to help people to appreciate its economic potential. GNA