Stakeholders especially smallholder farmers in the bamboo value chain in some African countries are to benefit from a programme being implemented by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR).
The “Inter- Africa Smallholder Livelihood Development Programme” seeks to, among other things, upscale and diversify the target countries’ existing bamboo value chains and promote industrialisation of bamboo products.
With funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the programme will also facilitate the use of bamboo as a tool to reverse land degradation, reduce soil erosion and protect watersheds.
It is being implemented under the South-South Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) with a US$ 500,000 funding from the Chinese Ministry of Trade and Commerce.
Details of the programme emerged during a stakeholder discussion ahead of a study tour in Ghana organised by INBAR for African member states in Accra.
The tour is to provide opportunities for participants to learn from Ghana’s experience in the utilisation of bamboo resources in the country.
Dr Ernest Nti Acheampong, Project Manager of the Programme, said recommendations from the outcomes of some programmes implemented in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar and Ghana before 2018, triggered the need for the livelihood programme.
He said the programme sought to find a holistic approach on how to deal with issues that affect beneficiary countries socially, economically, environmentally and also how to raise incomes.
“What we are looking at is an integrated approach to improve income and livelihoods of the people with climate change as an issue that we have to deal with in terms of ways we can adapt to climate change”, he emphasized.
Dr Acheampong said the programme would focus on smallholder farmers and individuals who are much interested in bamboo enterprises and support them through capacity building and advocacy.
He underlined the need to strengthen the South-South Cooperation and relations with China which had been a beacon of the bamboo industry for many years.
China, he said, was commanding about 70 per cent of the US$ 70 billion bamboo industry and that there was a lot to learn from China for the success of the programme.
He explained that the South-South Cooperation was basically trying to understand the different country approach to develop the bamboo sector with focus on INBAR member states.
“We want to understand what is happening in all these countries, both in private and public sectors especially how to use bamboo to restore degraded landscapes”, he said.