Bamboo Investment and Bio-Enterprise Development in counties around Mt. Kenya and Aberdares will play a key role in provision of invaluable wealth creation, employment opportunity for youth through bamboo processing and value addition giving high value products like; boards, charcoal briquettes, furniture, wood floor, curtains, carpets replacing the scarce hardwood in our critical water towers.
In addition to being a valuable cash crop, bamboo has numerous ecological services including regulation of river flows, flood mitigation, water storage, and recharge of ground water, reduced soil erosion and siltation, water purification, promotion of bio-diversity and micro-climate regulation, among other features. In recognizing the importance of these ecosystems, the government established Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA) to coordinate and oversee the sustainable management of all other water towers in the country and to provide a pivotal framework for the long term sustainable conservation and management of these critical natural resources. The Agency in line ensuring sustainable management of water towers, is championing bamboo investment in the counties around the water towers to help meet the national green growth strategies that aims at unlocking ecosystems economic potential.
An interactive forum was been organized by the Agency on the 17th of August, 2015 at Outspan Hotel Nyeri to bring together County Executives, Private Investors, Government Institutions and other stakeholders to share experience, develop action Oriented Strategies, build partnerships and develop business case on Bamboo Investments and, or Bio-enterprises.
The stakeholders together suggested to conduct baseline survey to provide statistics and information on bamboo plantation within the water towers Ecosystems (based on types, potential, quantity etc.) by the institutions, KWTA, KEFRI, KFS & County governments within a duration of three months. The need to provide start-up resources for Small Scale growers to fast-track the Bamboo Investment Programme, and county governments to support the farmers was emphasized, this was to be spear headed by KITIL Farm, Greenpot, SSGRC & County governments.
A county model, a business plan or a strategy for bamboo is to be developed to address the whole value chain process and establish Bamboo Processing Units. There is also a need to establish a growers’ association and County working groups to set-up platforms for coordinating and regulating local and international trade, partnerships , set standards, etc.
The concerned institutions i.e. KEFRI, KWTA, and Regional Authorities were advised to Profile bamboo species’ quantity and create re-planting regime and also support CFA’s and WRUAs for production of bamboo in large areas. They should also embark on a grass root awareness campaign to awareness on the bamboo enterprise.