Posted on July 10th, 2021

Sarath Wijesinghe President’s Counsel former Ambassador to UAE and Israel President Ambassador’s forum

Bamboo is a grass-grown effortless

Bamboo is a grass grown worldwide with the least effort that is widely used as wood, timber, furniture, housing and other various methods in various parts of the world in China, Indonesia India, and in many African and Latin American countries. In some countries, the actual value of bamboo is not identified and it grows freely and widely in many parts of the world naturally in the wood and in the recent past as a commercial and agricultural crop to a smaller extent. It is a plant easy to grow with no fertilizer with the leaves that drop from the tree covering the outer soil maintaining the wetness and creating fertilizer from out of the leaves dropped. When other trees take 20 years to it takes only 3 months for Bamboo to grow up to 60 ft. at the rate of 2 inches per hour. Is it not a miraculous plant indeed! What more – it protects O2 and Co2 known as the friend of the people and wood of the poor and brother in China? It is a poorly unearthed treasure sparingly used until the real value was discovered in the recent past by China, Indonesia, India, and many other Bamboo growing clubs of nations. The world is faced with major threats on climatic changes and global warming mainly due to the drastic consequences of deforestation at a  terrible rate worldwide, mainly in poor countries where wood is exploited by the state and the private sector as a very valuable item in the market. Bamboo is available in all parts of the thick forests to be used as an alternative to wood and saves exploited forests with no plans of reforestation by ruthless rulers and the selfish private sectors. Deforestation was taking place at an uncontrollable terrible rate until the warning by the scientists and environmentalists on the imminent danger to global warming and drastic consequences. (And 1992 Kyoto Protocol made substantial changes on climatic change on carbon conversion. It is used in fuel and biomass frequently in all parts of bamboo areas. (‘UNFCCC’) Bamboo thickly grows in the middle of the jungle when the grown plants are harvested from the outer layer which is transported to factories and other areas for construction, development and industrial purposes that helps the economy of the poor man the plant naming the poor man’s plant in some parts of the world. Though grown fast the tree trunk of the bamboo tree is strong when all other parts of the tress is productive. Tender leaves are used for food and mature and dried and powdered leaves also use as food. UN Georgica survey has shown bamboo as a non-wood alternative anti-deforestation mechanism, that is available in many parts of the world growing free in forests and grown commercially due to the demand and the usage for commercial and industrial purposes. It is used the world over as a valuable substitute for food to replace wood as a non-durable resource which is used as food, charcoal, fuel absorbent, housing, gloater, in paper manufacture, flooring weaving, carpets with 2.5 billion dependent on bamboo related products food and industries. It is a primitive grass with 35 million HA cover with a unique Rhizome which is used as a natural protector to the soil especially on river banks, with diverse plants in the grass family that prevents water runoff on sand erosions. World Bamboo day earlier was helpful in Thailand but the prospects in the future are bleak due to ongoing corona until it is completely eradicated.

Bamboo is the best alternative for wood

Bamboo which is easy to grow and freely available has come to the rescue of the forest in danger to lay down a plan for systemic growth of bamboo in place of timber and control the growth of forests in a certain pattern. In 1992 Kyoto Protocol (UNFCCC) was initiated as a protective mechanism for the danger of the gradual destruction of the globe to save the world on precautionary and preventive measures mainly on deforestation, sand mining, and wilful environmental destructions with wonton and drastic destructive efforts due to manmade disasters. Bamboo is a main and ideal substitute for wood which is in short supply in the world helping reforestation with least effort and be a replacement for wood. Charcoal is required in industries and bamboo is the best and most convenient source. Fuel shortage is rampant and expensive and bamboo has come forward as a viable substitute. Housing industry bamboo is a cheap and readily available component as it is utilized in many steps of the housing and related industries. Pulp is needed in paper and other industries and in the clothing industry, it is used as convenient row material. It issued in weaving, flooring, weaving, crafts, furniture, and shoots are used a delicious food. It is a multipurpose grass like the coconut tree where all the parts of the tree give maximum use in many respects. The leaf of the coconut is used to make roofs in villages and the thin strong mid-portion of the leaf is issued in industry. Coconut water when young and grown is a drink, and the husk is used for coir and many other industries. Coconut is the main ingredient in foo in various forms and the seed is used in dried and natural form for food and many other purposed. Coconut trees and used in housing and construction and the making of furniture.

FAO and INBR initiated 22 research centers

FAO and INBR initiated research in 22 countries’ when 2.5 billion export value countries’ are depending on bamboo as an industry and a livelihood. Global database is computed and today it is converted to a fully-fledged industry well organized and established. In Brazil (many Latin American countries’) 9 million HA is grown which is ever increasing due to the productivity and expansion of the growth and trade. Chile has 899935 HA grown Bamboo with Ecuador and small countries. In Latin American countries’ Bamboo is easy to grow and people need it for livelihood though the growth and industry is not well organised as in other parts of the world. Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe are in the bamboo club Tanzania taking a further step in using bamboo on water distribution- a revolutionary step. In Latin America and Africa bamboo is integrated with the life of the citizen involved in every step of the livelihood. Leading companies have invested on growth giving a lifeline to the peasants awaiting for resources and some employment opportunity. Given the opportunity and proper training the craftsmanship will be a good source of income for the peasants awaiting for external assistance. Same trend spreads to Asia in a different way but same economic and industrial benefits. Frost cover mapping is common to all the regions and in China it is 10% and Asia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Japan, Papua new Gunny, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand the growth in over 5 million with Ethiopia 849000.

Global Forests and-on Bamboo

Bamboo is an integrated part of global forest grown freely as a productive plant to be a part of environmental protective partner. It is a non-wood used as wood with multi purposes. Joint studies were made with UNEP that is United Nations Convention Programs joint studies with UNFF UN Environmental programme. Bamboo is 1% global forests which are productive to the mankind. Latin America has 10 million HA, and five African countries’ has 25Milllion HA. 16 other countries’ has 24 million HA showing that there is no proper and authentic collection of data, though the research was done with FAO and INBAR jointly. There are 1200 kinds of bamboo which is an economic asset to many bamboo growing countries’. FAO and INBAR conducts regular researches and surveys on bamboo  and found the existence of 1200 of species, in 13 countries as an economic assert, 24 million HA in 16 countires,28 million in five African countries, 10 million in Latin American Countries’ with 1% of the global forest area, which is utilized by the world as a wood substitute. UN environments progress (UNEF) has done joint studies with world conservative monitoring centres (CNEP-WCME and INBAR) for deals with remote sensing inventing on bamboo resources. Forest cover mapping was done in India which has a large bamboo coverage and dependent community with forest mapping in Asia of 10% which includes Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papa   New Gunny, Philippines, turkey, Thailand, and Vietnam.


Africa too is thickly populated on bamboo as in Ethiopia 849000Ha, Kenya 124000HA, Nigeria 849000HA Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe which are substantial. Latin America has 9 million Ha in Chile, Peru, has substantial number with bamboo dependency of the poor in large number. China is the global centre for bamboo with over 200000 plants and thickly bamboo populated areas is the leading bamboo community abundant in bamboo and the community dependent on bamboo for the lively hoods. China the bamboo is called the friend of people and wood of the people with global trade of 10 billion which is used for the day to day and other livelihood of the poor.In Indonesia bamboo is used in day to day life and modern developments such as making of bamboo bicycles, of high strength and other remnants and productive goods for the livelihoods. Timber of the poor is used in weaving, medicine, food, and many other purposes as the most productive strong grass available for the common man. Indonesia has 17000 islands full of bamboo treasure widely used chic grows well due to climatic conditions and the situation in the islands. Due to over use of bamboo in Indonesia preventive measures have been made of clear the bamboo in large scale. China is the richest country in bamboo and Indonesia a dandier too are rich in bamboo china being the richest on bamboo.

Bamboo reawakening and way forward in Sri Lanka

Bamboo is not prevalent in Sri Lanka as many other bamboo countries. It is grown in deep forest protected by the wildlife department permitted to harvest with permission in addition to bamboo plantations in private sector which is minimal. While many countries obtain the maximum use of this powerful wonder grass that we use in place of wood and many other constructive way, we were lagging behind for unknown unfortunate reason. Bamboo in Sri Lanka is mainly used in constructions and a portion by craftsmen especially in ‘Gampaha’ area where furniture of highest quality is manufactured. Attempted were used by ‘Mahaweli’ with the assistance of the UNDP a  subsidiary body of UN  by planting over 30,000 plants, but unfortunately the project was abruptly ended with a natural death. It is a pity that it is ended in a disaster and it is not too late to reactivate in Sri Lanka with the State intervention as it is a necessity due to the monopoly of any government worldwide including China, Indonesia and India the leading bamboo giants. Mr Ram of ‘Akash’ Group and Mr Jeff ‘Goonawardena’ of ‘Thilanka’ – leading personalities have started reactivating the process with the blessings of the State have launched a programme to introduce the miracle grass to Sri Lanka in a modern way with many modifications and new introductions having studied the development in the world over. Sri Lanka tough a small island has all the necessary ingredients, to be a bamboo nation given the state assistance  as it is  the monopoly of the state in  in cultivation in forests and granting permission to use. It is the duty of the state to explore the potential of this miraculous grass use it for the benefit of the nation with the experiences and guidance’s of other bamboo countries to uplift the economy lifestyle of the poor awaiting for avenues. Bamboo is globalized and established in many countries with the advantages and we too can follow suit with the environmental and other advantages on the bamboo growth with less or minimal investment and an attractive return. What is required today is a little bit of research, study, dedication and hardware with q vision of the learned and committed in the area with state private partnership.

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