The lowly but sturdy bamboo is getting a share of the limelight in the international market.
Mindanao’s bamboo industry recently received an International Commodity Certification (ICC) which will allow it to penetrate the American billion-dollar construction market.
Rod Bioco, Chairperson of the Bukidnon Giant Bamboo Resources Corporation, said the Philippines can supply a portion of the United States’ annual 3,000 container requirement.
The opportunity also translates to more income generating opportunities as processing facilities are tapped to transform raw materials into items for export.
“It’s going to be irresponsible if we are going to ask people to plant, plant, plant if there is no post harvest facility so otherwise they become poor poor poor it has to be hand in hand,” Bioco explained in the recently held Mindanao Bamboo Summit.
Earnings are expected to reach P100,000 per hectare for Mindanao farmers or a staggering P100-billion yearly for the industry.
The Bamboo Development Program of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) aims to transform a million hectares of watershed and logged-in areas in Mindanao into bamboo plantations.
“Kawayan (Bamboo) in the Philippines has never really been elevated to a level where it is considered a high value crop. MinDA supports converting semi-processed bamboo materials into high-value products as the best option to boost the local bamboo industry,” said MinDa Chairman Emmanuel Piñol.
While the program targets to earn millions by developing plantations and processing facilities, the country’s biggest gain is the protection of Mindanao watersheds, forests and headwaters from the threat of deforestation.