Bamboo could be Burma's next big export

Burma’s vast bamboo forests have great potential to produce a sustainable crop that could be sold worldwide, according to a group of environmentalists.

The Bamboo Lovers Network believes that with a little technical help, Burma’s bamboo is good enough to be the country’s next major export.

The country has the third-largest reserve of bamboo forests in the world, and domestically it is an important raw material.

Bamboo is used in everyday life for construction and housing, as well as for mats, hats, toys, tools, and food.

But the Bamboo Lovers Network said they see the commercial potential in bamboo as a product that could be sold all over the world.

In Rangoon, the group has been conducting workshops to teach farmers how to cultivate sustainable bamboo plantations.

“Bamboo growers in Burma, unlike those in other countries, don’t have advanced growing and production techniques. So they haven’t yet realised the value of bamboo,” said Dewi Thant Sin of the Bamboo Lovers Network.

“While we have many bamboo forests across the country, it is essential that we maintain high standards of quality.”

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She went on to say that Burma’s bamboo forests have been mostly uncared for and poorly protected. Officials collect taxes from the private sector for cutting the shoots down, and there have been limited conservation efforts.

Burma currently exports finished bamboo products to other countries in the region, but not on a large-scale. Sustainable management of the forests is key to producing high-quality bamboo products, and could be the gateway for a huge export opportunity.
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