Jamaica Looks to Revive Bamboo Industry

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Bureau of Standards Jamaica is looking to resuscitate the bamboo industry in Jamaica, it said this week.

Jamaica is one of 38 countries worldwide that are members of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), a China-based organization that includes countries that have a commercially viable amount of bamboo.

“The country has approximately 106,000 acres or 50,000 hectares of the valuable, renewable resource which grows rapidly and is a good substitute for wood which we obtain from cutting down trees that take 20 to 40 years to grow,” said Gladstone Rose, team leader for INBAR Focal Point Jamaica, in a release. “The economy stands to gain a lot from the membership of INBAR, as the countries that are in it all report that they are able to create jobs, protect their environment and get sustainable development because of bamboo.”
China, for example, Rose said, exported about $10 billion worth of bamboo each year, and consumes about $2 billion each year.

The Focal Point team is currently seeking venture capital to supply “already-identified markets” in Jamaica and in the United States, according to Rose.

Last year, a pilot programme was launched in Glengoffe to work on bamboo production.

“We are in the process of developing some products for the local market and have started burning the coal. We also plan to reap the bamboo and distribute it to the manufacturers in Kingston and wherever else we can, because we have a lot of bamboo,” said Roosevelt Lawrence, president of the Glengoffe Community Development Committee. “This project will create employment within the community as there are no factories or means of employment other than farming, so the community stands ready to benefit.”

 

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