Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bamboo Farming as a Viable Global Crop Venture

There is a new recommended crop today: bamboo. It is not a vegetable nor a fruit but they harvest it all the same.

The potential of growing bamboo has expanded.
This is primarily due to advances in the engineered bamboo technology in conjunction with the worldwide concern to mitigate Global Warming. 

Botong (Gigantochloa levis) is recommended for growing bamboo in commercial scale.

The bamboo plant is no longer a poor man’s timber. Traditionally used for household convenience including source of low-cost materials for house construction, tools, vegetable and ornamentation, it has now established its commercial value as a timber substitute and for a multiple number of uses as an engineered product.

Engineered bamboo or e-bamboo is the mechanical and chemical manipulation of the bamboo pole to produce products which serve as substitute for wood. The engineered products include planks, tiles, balusters, mats, veneer, plywood and boards.


Finished products using 100 percent engineered bamboo include doors, windows, flooring, trusses, beams, chairs, desks, tables and furniture.

In Mexico City, Architect Simon Velez built the 55,200-square-foot Nomadic Museum using bamboo which is also referred to as “vegetal steel”. The building occupied half of the Zocalo, Latin America’s largest plaza. He built more structures around the world. (Associated Press, 2008). The press release also says that there are a few commercial bamboo farms to meet the growing demand.

The bamboo plant is no longer a poor man’s timber. Traditionally used for household convenience including source of low-cost materials for house construction, tools, vegetable and ornamentation, it has now established its commercial value as a timber substitute and for a multiple number of uses as an engineered product.
Buddha belly (Bambusa ventricosa) has grown in importance for growing bamboo for ornamental and furniture purposes.  
According to Van Der Lugt and Lobovikov (2008), the current value of the international bamboo trade is probably between US$1.5 to $3 billion with China as the main supplier, followed by India. The European Union (EU) and USA are the largest importers, accounting for up to 80% of the total bamboo imports. They noted that besides flooring, markets for other engineered bamboo products such as veneer, panels and boards are growing.



The stable worlwide demand for wood and the increasing interest in sustainably produced timber further boost the potential market for industrial bamboo products. Among many western consumers, bamboo is an inherently sustainable resource. Thus industrial bamboo is seen to compete for hardwood in the twenty-first century.
However, the present supply from natural stands is limited. This needs to be increased manyfold by growing bamboo in available land.

According to Einav (2009), UNIDO has helped India “rediscover” bamboo. India’s current demand for bamboo is an estimated 27 million tons. But only 50 percent of that demand can be met because of lack of facilities for value addition and transportation.


Thorny bamboo (Bambusa blumeana) has high bending, crushing strength and elasticity. It is highly favored for growing bamboo intended for engineered products.
These worldwide trends on supply and demand, therefore, clearly strengthens the feasibility of growing bamboo as a viable crop venture in the World.

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