The Asante-Akim South Municipal Assembly, is partnering the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) to promote the use of bamboo, as an alternative for wood.
The aim is to create jobs for the people and boost the local economy, while also reducing the perennial pressure on the depleting forest resources, including timber.
As part of efforts to achieve the objectives, the Assembly in collaboration with INBAR, have begun the process of setting up a Common Production and Training Centre (CTPC), where the youth would be trained on bamboo craft – how to use bamboo to manufacture a wide array of products.
The project, under the Inter-Africa Bamboo Smallholder Farmers Livelihood Development Programme and funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is expected to be completed in December, this year.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties spelling out their commitment to the project is expected to be signed soon.
Mr. Michael Kwaku, the Country Director of INBAR told the Ghana News Agency (GNA), that equipment for the centre worth $50,000 had been procured from China and was expected in the country soon.
He said 10,000 bamboo seedlings planted at a nursery site at Obogu, adding that, the target was to produce 40,000 seedlings by the end of the year, for onward distribution to out growers to make sure that raw materials are always available.
To this end, three persons including; the Presiding Member of the Assembly, Ms. Beatrice Kyei, have gone on a study tour in Ethiopia to get acquainted to the numerous uses of bamboo in that country.
About 200 farmers, according him, weretrained in bamboo cultivation and how to inter crop the plant on their farms, to reap its huge economic benefits.
“The training centre, would initially focus on the production of furniture for the first three years, under the management of the Business Advisory Centre (BAC), after which the Assembly would take over”, he added.
Mr Alexander Frimpong, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said the Assembly, since 2008 had been pursuing the vision of establishing a bamboo processing centre to produce toothpick through the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP).
He said they succeeded in putting up the building and installing the machinery in 2011, but the project stalled due to various challenges.
When he assumed office in 2017, management of the Assembly took steps to look for investors to revive the abandoned project, aware of its potential to create employment for the teeming youth.
One of such efforts, he said, led to the partnership with INBAR to turn the place to a training centre for the production of bamboo products.
“The Assembly is committed to the partnership and would do everything possible to make the project a reality.
We are poised to making the Municipality an industrial hub, a fertilizer factory at Asankare and pig processing factory at Asuboa, are also at various stages of completion, he said.
He was hopeful that the project would create direct and indirect jobs for hundreds of people in the municipality and urged all stakeholders to support it.