Rwanda Moves to Boost Bamboo Value Chain

Rwanda’s Ministry of Natural Resources is today meeting key private sector stakeholders to discuss increasing public-private partnerships in the management of bamboo plantations in thecountry, rx Chimp Corps report.

The meeting will also share experiences in bamboo processing, sick improve collaboration and discuss ways to boost the bamboo value chain.

The meeting being held at Lemigo Hotel is chaired by the Minister of Natural Resources, Vincent Biruta.

Bamboo is growing in clusters on hills, farmlands and around homes and gardens across Rwanda.

Since 2010 the Ministry of Natural Resources has promoted bamboo for use as a buffer zone on riverbanks including Akanyaru, Sebeya and Nyabarongo rivers.

A bamboo nursery has been established in Nyandungu (Kigali) and two additional nurseries are expected to be operational in the next few months in Rulindo and Huye districts.

In addition, given that bamboo has long been used for construction, handicrafts, as stakes to support climbing beans, and to make various households items, the potential to scale up its use and value is immense.

As part of ongoing efforts to increase bamboo promotion, the Government of Rwanda partnered with the Government of China to set up a project that is increasing not only production, but also utilisation.

The project is training artisans from cooperatives, local NGOs, and companies on how to make furniture, handicraft items, toothpicks, barbecue sticks and other items that have demand in local and regional markets.

Job creation

To complement these efforts, private investment in bamboo production is being encouraged by the government with the view to better utilise this natural resource and create jobs.

“Rwanda is well suited to harness the potential of bamboo and its benefits can be realised for both the environment and people. The rapid growth of bamboo and its ability to protect soil against erosion enables them to be grown on steep slopes and degraded soils as well as along riverbanks to act as buffer zones,” said Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources.

“Given the dispersed nature of bamboo plantations across Rwanda, there is an opportunity to set up vibrant local bamboo industries that do not require sophisticated technology but add value to the raw bamboo product. The government is looking to work more closely with the private sector to achieve this, which would create jobs and boost incomes in rural areas.”

During the meeting, the Rwanda Agricultural Board will present research findings on the state of bamboo in Rwanda and the Workforce Development Authority will propose new ways to add value to existing bamboo products and introduce new items to the market.

It is expected that the meeting will forge a common understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by the private sector and how government can better support it.

The meeting will also develop a set of recommendations to address barriers to growth so that the forest sector in Rwanda can reach its full potential.

Rwanda has a variety of bamboos species including Bambusa vulgaris, Arundinaria alpine and Oxythenanthera abyssinica.

Research carried out in the Ruhande Arboreum showed that Dendrocalamus giganteus is another species that grows well in Rwanda.

Due to its woody properties, fast growth rates and general ease of processing, bamboo cultivation can provide farmers with the opportunity to significantly increase supplies of timber and biomass without compromising limited resources.





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