Business Times

UNIDO & Ind. Ministry pioneer Sri Lanka’s first ever formal Bamboo processing industry effort

The United Nation’s Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, has initiated a new project to set up bamboo industries in Sri Lanka. As part of this project, Indian experts will begin to share their expertise to start Sri Lanka’s bamboo processing industry. India reportedly has the second largest bamboo stocks in the world after China, according to a Ministry press release.

With a total value of $15.9 million, the project will aim at developing a bamboo supply chain and product industry in the country, according to Nawaz Rajabdeen, National Director, UNIDO-Sri Lanka. “UNIDO envisages that its industry development thrust will occur on three fronts—engineered bamboo materials for structural applications such as roofing sheets and panelling, bamboo pellets for local energy use, and bamboo sprouts as food exports” Mr Rajabdeen said, adding “UNIDO will also extend technical support and expertise to develop this industry towards SME levels.”

According to the Department of Forest Conservation sources there are no large scale bamboo plantations in Sri Lanka either by the public or private sectors and currently bamboo cultivation is done in the country by informal sectors in small scale, except the cultivations under the Riverine Bamboo Project of Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, which plans to cultivate them in selected river bank areas of Mahaweli project lands. Micro scale harvesters earn between Rs 250 to 300 per bamboo tree and from a grove of 50 trees, around 30 trees are harvested annually.

UNIDO has organised a two day seminar titled “Bamboo Processing in Sri Lanka” to be held on September 5 and 6 in Colombo as a pre-project preparation. Relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Industry & Commerce and industries under it, Ministry of Irrigation & Water Resources Development, Environmental Ministry, bamboo cultivators, construction industry personnel etc are expected to take part in this first ever seminar of this nature to be held in the country.

In early June 2011, the UNIDO office in Sri Lanka sent a four member Public Private Partnership delegation led by Sarath Abeysundara, National Project Coordinator, UNIDO Sri Lanka to Assam, India to study various aspects of Assamese bamboo industry and concluded that there is great potential for bamboo processing industry in Sri Lanka.

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