Push for commercial bamboo production in Benguet
THE Office of the President and the Philippine Bamboo Foundation recently rallied Benguet farmers to be engaged in commercial bamboo production as one alternative source of livelihood. This is also to deter the impact of the continuous smuggling and importation of vegetables to the local agriculture industry.
Undersecretary Edgardo Manda, who visited and observed the bamboo industry in China, said China has devoted 5 million hectares to bamboo and would be short of supply in five years; thus, the Philippines, particularly Benguet, must now go into commercial bamboo production to address the shortage of bamboo in the future.
Dr. Romualdo Sta. Ana, president of the Philippine Bamboo Foundation and a director of the International Network on Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) based in Beijing, China, has arranged for hands-on training of two Benguet farmers for three months in China to ensure that farmers would be equipped with appropriate knowledge and skills angled in commercial bamboo production.
Gov. Borromeo Melchor expressed his full support to the new alternative source of livelihood for farmers. Melchor pointed out the provincial government has earmarked portion of its resources to train farmers in the different towns to be engaged in other productive sources of livelihood aside from vegetable farming.
It was learned that the Foundation would import the Moso bamboo variety, which would be given for free to techno-demo farms and nurseries in the different parts of the country. Moso is a variety of bamboo shoots that is well suited to the Benguet climate just like the other local varieties.
Experts revealed that bamboo is the only plant that absorbs carbon dioxide four times more than any other crop and therefore has a carbon credit under the clean development mechanism (CMD) that seeks to achieve the emission reduction goals of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
Melchor explained the support being given by government and private organizations especially in the field of developing alternative sources of livelihood would be a big boost to the continuous economic development in the province.