Status of the Bamboo Industry in Ethiopia
Aside from being the top honey and coffee producer in Africa and having the largest livestock population on the continent, Ethiopia is known for having the largest area of bamboo cover of any country in Africa with around 1.47 million hectares.
Bamboo farming and frustration in Ethiopia
Unfortunately, considering the large bamboo resource base available, Ethiopia has not been able to capitalize on this and the bamboo industry remains underdeveloped. For instance, despite having about 7% of the world total bamboo resources, average exports of bamboo products from Ethiopia for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 accounted for only about 0.02 percent of global exports with the most commonly exported bamboo commodity being bamboo culms. This proves that compared to the share of other bamboo exporting nations and the role played by bamboo in the global economy, the country has not used it even to its minimal potential.
There are multiple reasons for the low economic return obtained, the most notable is the lack of knowledge and skills on bamboo management leading to bamboo use being far below its potential. This limits product diversification and makes knowledge on the potential of the various possible products poor. There aren’t enough technologies available to increase its lifespan and to upgrade the production chain. These limitations and lack of skills result in products that do not appeal to potential purchasers. In addition to that, there’s a complete lack of marketing infrastructure to enable products to reach out and find new markets.
The lack of economic incentive to value bamboo as a useful commodity, in turn, has led to the under-utilization and degradation of bamboo forests and so bamboos are often left neglected on the site after flowering, that is, if the bamboo landscapes aren’t converted into commercial farm lands first.
Considering the experience of countries that are utilizing bamboo for major profit and environmental protection, it is understandable that sustainable bamboo utilization needs bamboo resource development, availability of new scientific information, and proper marketing…..
Original source of article: By BAMBU BATU