Environment ministry tasks Nigerians on full exploration of bamboo potential

FG restates support for ECOWAS states on biodiversity action plans
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mahmood Abubakar

The Federal Ministry of Environment, on Thursday in Abuja, appealed to stakeholders in the bamboo value chain to maximally explore the importance of the plant by planting and nurturing it.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr Abel Enitan made the appeal during an occasion to commemorate the 2021 World Bamboo Day.
The event with the theme “Plant Bamboo, It is time to plant Bamboo’’ was organized by the Ministry’s Department of Forestry.
Represented by Mr Adekola Razak, Acting Director of Forestry, Enitan emphasized that the development, management and proper utilization of bamboo would turn around the rural economy and alleviate rural poverty.
He said bamboo was being integrated into the national forest inventory to facilitate inclusion into the natural capital accounting system as the mechanism for national emission reduction was being upscaled.
“This is in addition to ensuring that bamboo becomes part of our strategic option to address afforestation and deforestation,’’ Enitan added.
The representative of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Olumuyiwa Ajade, said that bamboo if well harnessed could contribute to the social economic development of the country.
Ajade, who is the Deputy Director, Pulp, Paper, and Wood, Industrial Development Department in the ministry, expressed the ministry’s desire to ensure the development of bamboo.
According to her, in all the raw materials, bamboo is very important for several industrial sectors of the economy such as paper, pencil, toothpick, plywood and cotton wool.
“Propagating the importance of bamboo through collaboration with stakeholders both public and private is dear to us.
“We have just started engaging with some of the stakeholders to see how to sensitise the public on the uses and conscious cultivation of bamboo and we hope to widen the scope of our engagement,’’ Ajade said.
Chief Ajie Ogwu, Chairman, Bamboo and Rattan Farmers Association of Nigeria stressed the need to step up activities of the non-oil sector of Nigeria’s economy through bamboo cultivation, processing and marketing.
Ogwu said that bamboo could create massive employment and empowerment opportunities for the youth.
He appealed to the Federal Government to promote bamboo to the level of rice and maize, noting that the commodity had so much more than just food but could earn foreign exchange for Nigeria.
Dr Bello Dogondaji, National Secretary, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria, said that bamboo had not received adequate attention and support.
Dogondaji, in his lecture titled “The Development of Bamboo Industry in Nigeria: Successes, Challenges and Opportunities’’, emphasized the need to move the subsector forward.
While calling for intensified campaign to promote the cultivation of bamboo, he solicited the support of the private sector to develop the commodity.
Nwokedi Munachi, member of the Young Foresters Club, Government Secondary School, Garki, said bamboo was important and described it as a resilient plant that helped in preserving wildlife.
“In Nigeria, bamboo has been recorgnised as an economically important plant and veritable alternative to timber,’’ Munachi said.
He added that bamboo was useful for construction purpose such as roads, bridges, houses and furniture.
“Other benefits derived from bamboo include food, biofuel, fabrics, as scaffolding and for yam stalking by farmers,’’ Munachi said.