The creation of a state coordinating agency for bamboo development is being pushed by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) to fortify Philippines’ ability to seize a sizable share of the $20 billion global bamboo market.

bamboo photo

Photo by foilman

Senate Bill (SB) No. 1478 or the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act (PHILBIDA) will sharpen coordination of the many dispersed programs on bamboo.

It will create the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC).

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said the bamboo industry can generate numerous jobs and be a top exporter and dollar generator.

“With only a handful of countries competing in the bamboo industry worldwide, there is a great potential for the Philippine bamboo industry to get the bigger pie in the world market and be on the top export products of the country,” Zubiri said.

The absence of a government agency focused on bamboo hinders development of the industry.

“Currently, there is no institution that is dedicated to oversee the development of the bamboo industry. Among the impediments to realize bamboo industry in the Philippines are the dispersed programs, unsupportive policies, and lack of incentives to attract investments,” he said.

SB 1478 will also create under PBIDC the Bamboo Industry Research and Development Center (BIRDC) which will have these functions:

· Promote establishment and management of bamboo nurseries, plantations and processing facilities that would accelerate the production and commercialization of bamboo and various bamboo products;

· Promote  market access of its technologies and products;

· Evaluate the performance of industry programs and projects;

· Partner with the private sector and  other government and non-government agencies in the implementation of the Philippine Bamboo Roadmap (PBR);

· Accept grants, donations and contributions from local and international donors; and

· Conduct capability-building initiatives for farmers, processors, designers, and other 10 stakeholders.

Many enterprises are still utilizing wood working machines which are not suitable tool for processing bamboo. There is also a growing shortage of supply of bamboo raw materials.

ERDB pushes for the immediate passage of SB 1478 and provided technical inputs into it through the Technical Working Group supported by bamboo experts and scientists of ERDB led by its director Dr. Henry A. Adornado.

SB 1478  was proposed by the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship jointly with the Committees on Finance, and Ways and Means.

Zubiri said during a hearing last May 30 that PHILBIDA is based on the targets in the PBR which includes scientific propagation,  processing, utilization, business development, and commercialization of Philippine bamboos.

The PBR requires bamboo to take at least twenty percent 20% of the annual planting materials needed in the National Greening Program. It mandates the use bamboo in the manufacture of at least twenty five percent 25% of desks and chairs in public primary and secondary schools.

Zubiri said bamboo growing has important environmental benefits, absorbing carbon dioxide better than trees and provides 35% higher oxygen than trees.

It also aids in riverbanks stabilization and erosion control.

After the sponsorship speech last May 30  by Senator Zubiri, Senator Gordon, and Senator Legarda expressed their appreciation of the bill.

The country’s bamboo roadmap targets expansion of bamboo nurseries with quality planting materials. It ensures propagation and breeding, site species matching and plant nutrition, soil and water conservation practices and encourage bamboo backyard farming.

Twenty three bamboo propagules of kawayan kiling, kawayan tinik, giant bamboo, yellow bamboo, iron bamboo, and variegated bamboo, including information materials were distributed by ERDB to the Senators.

Other government agencies supporting the bill’s passage are Department of Trade and Industry represented by the Board of Investments and Design Center of the Philippines, Department of Agriculture represented by the Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Science and Technology, represented by the PCAARRD and Forest Products Research and Development Institute, Philippine Export, Inc., Philippine Bamboo Foundation Inc., and Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines. (Growth Publishing for ERDB)

For any questions or interview requests, please contact 0929-715-8669, 0917-102-6734 (Groth Publishing for ERDB)