A Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio has called on stakeholders to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to develop a globally competitive bamboo and rattan industry.
According to Mr. Owusu-Bio, this will help to sustain the growth and development of bamboo and rattan resources across the African continent.
Speaking at the Africa Regional Symposium organised by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization on the theme “Investing in bamboo as a productive sector of Africa’s Economy,” he reiterated the government’s commitment to implementing green economic policies that will promote bamboo and rattan industry development.
Ghana officially joined the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) in November 2002 and has been an active member, which is evident in its support for the establishment of INBAR’s Regional Office for West Africa in Ghana.
“This demonstrates government’s commitment and political will to strengthen the partnership between INBAR and Ghana”, he said.
He applauded the INBAR West Africa Regional Office for its collaborative efforts in implementing various initiatives to support the industry.
Among them include “the establishment of Rattan Processing Facility Centres to train and serve as common access for rattan producers, the establishment of a Common Production and Training Centre to process bamboo and manufacture bamboo products and to transfer bamboo technologies and skills, the development of Bamboo and Rattan Roadmaps, the production of bamboo charcoal and briquette and lastly, the bamboo nursery establishment.”
He reassured participants and stakeholders of the government’s commitment to “implementing green economic policies that promote bamboo and rattan industry development” as shown in the “creation of the Bamboo and Rattan Development Programme (BARADEP) Secretariat to provide strategic policy direction for the development of the industry.”
Also, he added, “the establishment of the Bamboo and Rattan Unit (BRU) at the Forestry Commission of Ghana to spearhead the field development of the Bamboo and Rattan sector. Lastly, the launch of the Bamboo and Rattan Development Strategic Plan in 2020 to serve as a roadmap to guide the sustainable development of the bamboo and rattan sector, at least for the next five years.”
The Minister in his concluding remarks called on participants to help “develop a roadmap for stimulating investments in the bamboo and rattan sector.”
The symposium funded by the China-IFAD South-South Triangular Cooperation Facility (SSTC) with support CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees, and Agroforestry (FTA) hosted participants from Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania.
The Head, West Africa Regional Office (INBAR), Dr. Ernest Nti Acheampong explained that “the symposium will help to develop and strengthen South-South knowledge transfer and trade connections, particularly within Africa.”
Also, “it will deepen the understanding of participants on critical pillars that support bamboo industry development, foster partnership, among others.”
The INBAR, established in 1997 is an intergovernmental development organization that promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan. It is made up of 48 Member States.
In addition to its Secretariat Headquarters in China, INBAR has five Regional Offices in Cameroon, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, and India.