Modernizing Sri Lanka’s bamboo industry could reduce poverty, protect environment

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lankan farmers could cultivate bamboo to diversify and enhance their income sources if the industry is modernized, experts said.

Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Research Fellow Manoj Thibbotuwawa said in addition to strengthening and diversifying smallholder farmer income, bamboo can help to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change by providing cleaner biogas, protecting forests and watersheds, absorbing and storing carbon,
providing a source of renewable energy, and reducing soil erosion.
He was speaking at the Stakeholder Workshop on Bamboo Sector Road Map/ Country Action/ Strategic Plan Development, organised by the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) and IPS.
International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) Training Manager Jin Wei said that bamboo has over 10,000 recorded uses, including construction, energy, textiles, furniture, and crafts, which provide income to millions of peoples across the tropics and sub-tropics.
Bamboo could help attain Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, sustainable housing and cities and environmental protection, said INBAR Sustainability Expert Ralf Kuepper.
However, he said that bamboo is still a cottage industry in Sri Lanka.
National Crafts Council Director  A.M.S.S.K. Chandrasiri said that modernising with the latest technology, providing training and skill development to the entrepreneurs, and international exposure is needed for the industry to become competitive globally.
ITI Senior Research Scientist Neville Amunugoda said his institute is willing to collaborate with all stakeholders to develop the bamboo sector in Sri Lanka.
He further said that the workshop was the first step in this initiative. (Colombo/Mar18/2019)

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