CANDELARIA, QUEZON – A bamboo nursery and propagation was launched in Bgy. Masalukot 2 Friday in a bid to alleviate poverty and enhance livelihood opportunities of residents here.
Ed Manda, presidential adviser of region 4-A and 4-B and Dr. Romualdo Sta. Ana, president of the Phil. Bamboo Foundation Inc. personally came on Friday for the 2-day seminar-workshop on the so-called “poor man’s lumber” which saw the participation of farmers from various towns of the province’ 2nd District.
Manda said Rizal, Laguna, Quezon and Cavite are the identified areas for the propagation of the bamboo whose technology must be adopted and studied by the farmers to improve their lot.
2nd District Cong. Procy Alcala, who invited Manda and Sta. Ana to give a lecture on the first day of the seminar, said he sees the vast potential of the bamboo here for propagation, processing and marketing to other countries especially China and Japan.
Alcala, who vowed logistical support for the bamboo planters, prodded the participants to learn the technology and nurture the bamboo industry to be competitive in the world market especially China, Japan and Europe.
Barangay Chairman Federico Tesico lamented that the bamboo in their barangay is not being promoted such that a bamboo pole here only fetches P20 each and laborers who transport and work for the bamboo earn more income than the planter and owner of bamboos.
Sta. Ana, a bamboo expert who was said to be discovered by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and Manda during a Southeast Asian Games Competiton in China, said that a hectare of 225 bamboo stems planted 7 meters apart would yield for the farmer P174,375 a year.
Saying that bamboo is an important vehicle for poverty alleviation and an ideal vehicle to realize the country’s Millennium Development Goals Sta. Ana claims that a village in China which is engaged in making bamboo baskets earn as much as $150 million a year.
He showed the many benefits and uses derived from bamboo such as housing and construction materials, food from bamboo shoots, medicines and wine (beer) from its leaves, furniture and other bamboo crafts, musical instruments, kitchen wares and protection from soil erosion when planted on river banks.
Digno Garcia, a lecturer from the Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau of the DENR at UP-Los Baños in Laguna, said there are 70 bamboo species in the Philippines such as kawayan-tinik, kawayan-kiling, bayog, buho, giant bamboo, yellow buho, bikal, anos, among others.
Sta. Ana and Garcia who conducted their lecture with the aid of Power Point presentation, showed that the world trade on bamboo and bamboo products is estimated at $14 billion and that the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines needs 1.5 million poles this year and the demand will increase by 1.8 million poles a year. (JOHN BELLO)