Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Jamaica heads intl bamboo network

Published:Friday | January 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Bamboo forms a canopy along Holland Bamboo Avenue in St Elizabeth.-File

Tameka Gordon, Business Reporter

Jamaica has been appointed head of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), amid its own strides to develop a vibrant bamboo industry.

The INBAR Council, at its recent meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, selected Jamaica as the new chair of the organisation, signifying its confidence in the countrys institutions to be always standards-driven.

INBAR has a 40-country membership where there is a population of over three billion people.Speaking of the appointment, chairman of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Professor Winston Davidson, said the country has earned every vote that we got to lead this organization.

This is the outcome of a relentless process, and we must be proud when we are given this honour, he said, while addressing a bamboo forum in St Mary recently, according to a Jamaica Information Service release.Jamaican Bamboo productsJamaica already has organic bamboo charcoal on the market with the latest innovation, a bamboo tomato ketchup, also now being sold.

The ketchup was developed by a recent university graduate and head of Jamdun Food Processing, Chevaughn Bowen.

The country is also set to see the widescale production of bamboo for the construction of low-cost houses and value-added products such as furniture for the export market, even as the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has encouraged investors to take advantage of the commercial opportunities of its byproducts.For Professor Davidson, Jamaicas leadership of 40 sovereign governments that are members of the inter-governmental organisation is an achievement that will enable the country to develop its own bamboo industry.

environment & income

He said INBAR has demonstrated how the industry can protect the environment, while providing an income for the people.With information from INBAR, we are developing a new standards-led market-driven bamboo industry, and as we develop our new value chains, Jamaica will be seeking to grow managed bamboo plantations as our contribution to arresting climate change, Professor Davidson said.

He also used the forum to announce that a project to enhance our tourism product through new bamboo products and agro-parks will be demonstrated at the four-kilometre stretch of Holland Bamboo Avenue in St Elizabeth.

The renewable nature of the new bamboo plantations, along with the existing 47,000 hectares of common bamboo, will be adequate to provide sustainability in our poverty-alleviation strategy and development agenda, Professor Davidson said.