Bam­boo ben­e­fits

ChinAfrica - - Africa Report -

From hum­ble be­gin­nings, Shiribwa’s farm is now in­volved in pro­jects for re­for­est­ing wa­ter catch­ment ar­eas in Kenya’s Cheran­gany re­gion. In 2013, he got in­volved in a project to raise 200,000 seedlings which were used to plug the gaps in the forested ar­eas of Cheran­gany. The price is at­trac­tive, some­times av­er­ag­ing $3 per seedling, prov­ing bam­boo to be green gold to the farmer as well as a way of pro­vid­ing much needed em­ploy­ment to lo­cals.

Shiribwa’s county gov­ern­ment took note of his ini­tia­tive and spon­sored him to visit China to learn more about the us­age of bam­boo. He vis­ited the Yun­nan Bam­boo Nurs­ery in Kun­ming of south­west China’s Yun­nan Prov­ince and found that among other uses, Chi­nese eat the bam­boo shoots, but more im­por­tantly he learned that bam­boo could be made into other prod­ucts, rather than just sell­ing it raw. The In­ter­na­tional Net­work of Bam­boo and Rat­tan (INBAR) fig­ures show in China the bam­boo in­dus­try em­ploys nearly 8 mil­lion peo­ple, a num­ber that is ex­pected to hit 10 mil­lion by 2020.

“I have lived to learn that it makes lots of fi­nan­cial sense to add value to bam­boo. It is a plant that is use­ful from the roots to the shoots. Ev­ery part is im­por­tant,” he told Chi­nafrica.

Shiribwa said his ini­tial in­vest­ment was used in try­ing to im­prove on the uses of bam­boo. “But we are not yet there. We still need sup­port to ex­pand.”

He found that af­ter dry­ing and pest treat­ment bam­boo makes good fenc­ing ma­te­rial and the wood is also use­ful in mak­ing dec­o­ra­tions. A set of door or­na­ments can cost up to $30 and a clothes rack $20. The work­ers at Shiribwa’s farm work­shop also craft

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