The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) has marked 25 years of protecting, developing and utilising bamboo and rattan resources as an alternative to timber.
The anniversary, which coincided with the Second Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress, being held in China, was on the theme: “Bamboo and Rattan – Nature Based Solution to Sustainable Development.”
Established in 1997, INBAR is an intergovernmental organisation that promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan in the 50 countries it operates.
Its West African Regional Office is hosted in Ghana by the Forestry Commission Training Centre (FCTC) at Akyawkrom in the Ejisu Municipality of the Ashanti Region, where a thanksgiving and anniversary cocktail was held on Monday to mark the Silver Jubilee
The event was held concurrently by other regional offices across the world.
Mr Michael Kwaku, the West African Regional Director of INBAR, said 25 years of advocacy to highlight the benefits of bamboo and rattan for effective utilisation was worth celebrating.
He said while people neglected the two as inferior species, INBAR saw their commercial values and the role they could play in global efforts to combat climate change.
Bamboo had transformed several economies, especially in Asia, he said, and urged Ghana to pay attention to its potentials.
Mr Kwaku said committing resources to the sector could reduce the pressure on forest reserves and provide a viable alternative to the over-reliance on timber for both commercial and domestic use.
The establishment of a workshop at the FCTC to train the youth in bamboo products had been under consideration for a while, he said, and called for the stepping up of efforts towards achieving that objective.
Through INBAR’s advocacy, people had come to appreciate the importance of bamboo, but its large-scale utilisation remained a challenge.
Mr Andy Osei Okrah, the Director of FCTC, said Ghana and other INBAR member countries appreciated the enormous support of INBAR, which had brought to the fore the potentials of bamboo and rattan and their importance to improving livelihoods.
“The Government of Ghana appreciates the unique roles bamboo and rattan can play in our effort to reclaim degraded lands, conserve watersheds and meet the country’s huge demand for wood fuel,” he said.