Expert lists economic, environmental benefits of bamboo

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Mr Ibrahim Adebayo of the Federal Ministry of Environment on Monday in Abuja advised Nigerians to cultivate bamboo in view of its numerous economic and environmental benefits.
Adebayo, an Assistant Director and Unit Head of Bamboo and Rattan, Department of Forestry in the ministry, spoke in an interview.
“Leave the forest alone, let the trees grow, use bamboo. Bamboo is a grass; it is not a plant that takes 50 years to grow.
“The more you cut bamboo, the more it grows. The type we have in Nigeria is sympodria type -that is one shoot with so many branches.
“There is no plantation of bamboo in Nigeria now. But government is trying to do one or two things to encourage people to go into bamboo cultivation,” he said.
On its economic benefit, Adebayo listed chair, table, window blind, door, tile, cloth and charcoal as some of the products that could be gotten from the plant.
“Bamboo can be used to reduce poverty, create employment, there is also value chain.
“Some people are doing the planting, some people are doing the processing.
“Some people are doing the marketing, that is value chain of bamboo, which can be done in any community where bamboo is situated,” Adebayo said.
According to him, the plant can be used to tackle the negative effects of climate change.
“It is (bamboo) one of the plants that can absorb carbon dioxide more than any plant because the leaves, the branches, stem and roots, everything absorb carbon.
“It is high yielding and is good for erosion control because the roots bind the soil together,’’ he said.
Adebayo said that the quantum of bamboo in Nigeria could not yet be determined as there was no plantation of the plant in the country.
He, however, explained that bamboo could be found in all the ecological zones of the country, adding that from the mangrove to the arid areas there were different species of bamboo.
According to him, what really happens is that in Nigeria today, we do not have the awareness on bamboo and its products.
“Luckily in 2014, the Federal Ministry of Environment set up a National Steering Committee for Bamboo Development in Nigeria.
“The committee is saddled with the responsibility of developing policy guideline for Nigeria for the development of bamboo.
“So, invariably, government is to come up with policy guideline, while private sector is to develop the activities of these products in Nigeria,” Adebayo said.
He said the committee comprises of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. (NAN)

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