Ramped-up bamboo planting to meet high demand, mitigate climate change

A social enterprise using bamboo farming and entrepreneurship to help farmers fight poverty and protect the environment is working with a Canadian company to ramp up bamboo planting in the country to meet rising demand.

Bambuhay founder and chief executive farmer Mark Sultan Gersava said the sector is in the level of industrialization given the “very high” demand.

“Actually, that is just a one portion of the business and the focus of this project on industrialization for a large-scale plantation and large industrialization production basically in Pangasinan and in Davao Region and of course Bukidnon. So that’s our direction,” Gersava said in a webinar.

He said Bambuhay and the Canadian firm are stepping up 40,000 hectares of plantations of bamboo across the country.

Gersava said his company aims to establish one production facility in every region to localize the supply chain, particularly the raw materials.

“Within that, we can decrease the carbon dioxide (CO2) that we are producing because it’s all locally-made…,” he added.

Gersava encouraged more farmers to plant bamboo to generate increased income, and for indigenous communities and illegal loggers to shift into a more sustainable livelihood program.

The social enterprise estimates it has eliminated 424,000 pounds of plastic, mitigated 5.6 million pounds of CO2, and reforested 542 hectares of forest.

Bambuhay’s 2030 goal is to reforest one million hectares of deforested land, and plant one billion bamboo trees.

Meanwhile, Enrique Tacbad, provincial director at Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Zambales, said the government supports businesses that take active steps to protect the environment through climate-friendly investments.

Tacbad said the DTI also leads the revitalization of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council throughout the country, and co-leads the regional bamboo councils along with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“We recognize bamboo as a sustainable raw material, a wood substitute, and a rising industry with the help of the passionate bamboo advocates all over the country,” he said.

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