The Jamaican Government is looking into the feasibility of using mined-out bauxite lands for the wide-scale planting of bamboo and growing of edible bamboo shoots.
State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, said discussions towards this effort are underway between her Ministry and the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.
Ffolkes-Abrahams said the aim is to tap into the lucrative international market for bamboo products, which is valued at US$270 million.
She was speaking on Friday at the opening of Jamaica’s first organic bamboo charcoal factory on Nelson’s Super Farm at Pembroke Hall, St Mary.
Ffolkes-Abrahams noted that the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has engaged several potential investors and stakeholders, and has been working on developing the necessary standards to ensure consistency and quality in the bamboo industry.
She informed that the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), as part of its urban renewal program, is also “actively pursuing possibilities with us.”
According to Ffolkes-Abrahams, the development of a bamboo industry will not only provide economic benefits, but will also have positive impacts on the environment.
“The planting of new bamboo acreages will ensure sustainability of the new bamboo industry, as well as assist in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The future for us, as a nation, is looking bright, through the development of the bamboo industry, and in our logistics-centered economy and growth strategy,” she said.
Meanwhile, chairman of the BSJ, Professor Winston Davidson, also welcomed the new entity, and stressed the need for quality products for the local and international markets.
He said there is great potential for bamboo to contribute to the economy through job creation.
“We are developing a new standards-led, market-driven bamboo industry, and to create new jobs, through the development of new bamboo value chains,” said Davidson.
Under the Government’s bamboo project, focus is being placed on the development of charcoal, cosmetics, furniture, lumber, water filters, houses, and consumable products from the plant.
Source: Jamaica Observer