Forestry Commission courts investors to implement development plan
A New unit established under the Forestry Commission (FC), the Bamboo and Rattan Unit (BRU), is courting the private sector investors and development partners to raise GH¢35.8 million to implement its five-year strategic development plan.
The plan is a blueprint for growing the country’s bamboo and rattan sub-sector.
The document, Ghana Bamboo and Rattan Development Strategic Plan, seeks to take advantage of the high potential of bamboo and rattan for socioeconomic development and environmental conservation to revamp the industry which is hugely underdeveloped.
Being implemented between 2020 and 2024, the plan is also to enable the country to benefit from the $60-million global bamboo economy, create jobs, protect the environment and reduce pressure on the environment by replacing timber with bamboo.
Lack of funds
The Head of the BRU, Mrs Faustina Baffour-Awuah, who made this known to the Daily Graphic in Accra, stated that the unit currently depended on its internal budget to implement the strategy.
Already, she said, with the internal budget, the unit had established a bamboo nursery at Kyebi, in the Eastern Region, with the capacity to produce 100,000 seedlings per year.
She said the unit had also developed a 6.7 hectares bamboo plantation, dubbed germplasm centre, at the Atewa Forest for research and other recreational activities within a year into the implementation.
“The plantation at the Atewa Forest is made up of five different bamboo spices. So, within the first year of the plan, we have tried to implement some of the key objectives,as we pursue sustainable sources of funds going forward,” Mrs Baffour-Awuah said.
The strategy was developed through a consultative process led by the BRU, charged with the regulation, conservation and sustainable management of Ghana's bamboo and rattan resources.
It is consistent with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and Ghana's Medium to Long-term Development Agenda.
Interventions proposed under this strategy will contribute positively to the sustainable development with its reduction in rural poverty levels and rural/urban migration.
The bamboo and rattan sub-sector developmental efforts in Ghana continue to be fragmented with lack of strong communication channels and structures.
The plan, Mrs Baffour-Awuah noted, was expected to focus on some key strategic objectives, including the promotion of investments, utilisation of bamboo and rattan resources nationwide and job creation.
“The strategic targets for plantation development are based on several factors. But for the purpose of this strategy, the scope is limited to end usage and species.
“The type of product is critical in this consideration. For instance, a medium to large-scale pulp producing facility requires about 260,000 tonnes of bamboo to enable it to produce to capacity per annum.
“A well-managed bamboo plantation can yield between 3.5 and 4.5 tonnes of bamboo,” she said.
The head of the unit explained that bamboo had a very short gestation compared with timber species and the related investments had short payback periods with relatively low risks.
That,she said, should help attract financial institutions to extend credit facilities to potential investors.
“The economic viability of commercial forest plantations depends on the yield and access to suitably packaged short-to-medium-term financing.
“This has the potential to motivate the government to introduce some general incentives and benefits to attract investments in commercial bamboo forest plantations,” Mrs Baffour-Awuah added.