The first ever National Bamboo Processing initiative will be kicked off at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo today (Sep. 19).
The project, ‘Bamboo Processing for Sri Lanka’, a UNIDO-Government of Sri Lanka-GEF initiative aims at developing a bamboo supply chain and process industry in the country, for the first time in history of Sri Lanka.
“This initiative is expected to develop a new industrial bamboo sector in Sri Lanka to make it internationally competitive and also to be a provider for food, flooring, and alternative biomass energy, among others. The targeted beneficiaries are rural households which harvest bamboo from the countryside and river banks, said Mr.Nawaz Rajabdeen, Head of UNIDO, Colombo.
More importantly, we believe that bamboo can give livelihood at village levels by direct and indirect employment, and also act as feedstock for biomass—in that can also be able to address fuel wood demand for the domestic and industrial sectors which has shown a steady increase during the last few years, he added.
According to a report by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, In Sri Lanka about 14 varieties of bamboo are grown in the country across all climatic zones of Sri Lanka, including in the arid areas. Currently bamboo cultivation is done in the country by informal sectors in small scale, except the cultivations under the Riverine Bamboo Project of Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka Forestry Master Plan of 1995 identified that protection of bamboos of the country ‘to be a priority.’ Sri Lanka’s current bamboo cultivation could be valued at Rs 220 mil (US $ 1.99 mil) with an estimated coverage extent of 5166 Ha of which 2500 Ha are grown by the Mahaweli Authority. This reinforces the opportunity to develop bamboo industry in Sri Lanka.