By Kofi Adu Domfeh
As the 2015 World Bamboo Day is commemorated, the World Bamboo Organization has appointed Bernice Dapaah, the Executive Director of Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, as a World Bamboo Ambassador.
Where bamboo grows naturally, bamboo has been a daily element, but its utilization has not always been sustainable due to exploitation.
September 18 is celebrated to increase bamboo awareness globally.
The World Bamboo Organization aims to bring the potential of bamboo to a more elevated exposure – to protect natural resources and the environment, to ensure sustainable utilization, to promote new cultivation of bamboo for new industries in regions around the world. It also seeks to promote traditional uses locally for community economic development.
Executive Director of World Bamboo Organisation, Suzane Lucas, said Bamboo has enormous potential as an environmental remediator which could repair the destruction human beings have wrought on this planet.
Bamboo groves prevent erosion, clean the air, store carbon, provide habitat, provide food, provide biomass, provide resource, and provide opportunities for community development.
She has pledged the World Bamboo Organization’s support to help bamboo and rattan resource countries to be more productive.
The organization will provide them with new knowledge as well as technology and policy packages to help strengthen their bamboo and rattan sectors.
The Director General of the International Bamboo and Rattan Network (INBAR), Hans Friederich said Bamboo and rattan are powerful strategic forest resources that can bring jobs and income to millions of people in rural areas, create new income streams for communities and reverse land degradation and deforestation.
But progress toward this widespread growth is slow as a result of lack of coordination between bamboo and rattan experts and agencies, technical knowledge that is difficult to access and the need for new evidence that countries can use to harness these resources to boost economic growth.
Addressing the 10th World Bamboo Congress in Damyang, South Korea, Bernice Dapaah, paid tribute to the institutions who have helped transform the vision of Ghana Bamboo Bikes into reality.
According to her, the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative has created employment opportunities for 35 people “whose incomes have lifted them out of poverty and allowed them to invest in a wide range of social benefits such as better nutrition and education”.
She urged the organisers and the experts to conduct workshops about the usage of bamboo and its potential to boost the rural economy, adding that her organization is ready to give cooperation to bamboo enthusiasts in this regard.
Ms Dapaah however lamented that Bamboo is a largely underutilized resource in Ghana and Africa with existing initiatives tending to occur in isolation.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Africa holds 12% of the global bamboo resources, but accounts for just 1% of the estimated $60+ billion world trade in bamboo.