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Bamboo industry takes centerstage in Date 2018

June 22, 2018

THE bamboo industry is believed to have good economic potential for the agriculture sector of Mindanao making one of the highlights of this year’s Davao Agri Trade Expo (Date) geared towards harnessing it.

Last year, the Senate Bill 1478 or the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act of 2017 was proposed which Senate Committee on Finance and Climate Change Loren Legarda had been known to support. The bill seeks to create a bamboo industry in the Philippines competitive enough to provide opportunities for local employment and to establish bamboo-based enterprises by ensuring that the industry has sufficient supply of quality raw materials. This is proposed to be done through bamboo nurseries and plantations.

The bill also proposes that the industry would receive continuous relevant technologies and new products as a means to capacitate skilled labors. This will also provide access to markets of bamboo products both locally and abroad through aggressive trade promotions.

“The lack of technical knowledge, promotion, and local research on bamboo hinders the development of the local bamboo industry. Bamboo offers a cheaper alternative to hardwood, timber, and other raw materials used for furniture or handicraft making. We need to invest more on research and development, bamboo cultivation, processing and product development,” said Legarda in an earlier published article.

In support of this bid to improve the bamboo industry in Mindanao, Date program committee chair John Tria said participants and guests of this year’s Date will expect discussions about the potentials of bamboo as a business venture.

“Bamboo is not just a building material, it is also a food source and it is fast growing. So the potential to generate income for many families is very good. And there are now modes to reinvigorate the Bamboo Industry Council of the Philippines because of the potential provided not only as building materials but food sources especially in our hinterlands and far-flung areas. That’s why we want to see how we can harness the growth of bamboo and the industry because of its potential to generate the kind of inclusive growth that agriculture brings,” said Tria.

He added that bamboos are generally easy to grow. It can grow in many of the hinterlands in Mindanao. This way, there would be a better way of harnessing the resources of the island region.

In 2016, Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino introduced Senate Bill No. 665 or the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council Act which seeks to remedy issues affecting the industry so the Council can be developed to “generate employment, help the bamboo export sector capture a greater market, promote environmental sustainability and help mitigate the impacts of climate change, and assist the government in achieving inclusive economic growth.”

As of 2016, the reported demand of bamboo poles in the country by all industry sectors amounts to 22 million culms per year. On the other hand estimated supply of preferred species of bamboo (kawayan tinik, giant bamboo, bulo, buho, bayog, kawayan, killing, kayali, and laak) is only at 10 million culms per year. This is according to a note written by Aquino published in 2016 explaining SB 665.

This September 20 to 22, 2018, Date, which will be held at the SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier will not only discuss potential investments and opportunities for agricultural crops such as cacao, coffee, coconut, corn, cassava, rice, and banana but will also give emphasis and attention to bamboos.

“There’s a lot of potential in agriculture and this is important because half of the Filipino families live in the rural areas and agriculture is how they generate their livelihood. The kind of activities we are going to promote will have a very strong impact on the ability of Mindanao families to generate sustainable livelihoods,” said Tria.