Revitalization of bamboo development program eyed

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Saturday, February 8, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Various sectors in Pampanga are asking the Provincial Government for its assistance in revitalizing the province’s bamboo development program after it took a three-year lull since it was launched in 2010.

In an assessment and evaluation forum at Capitol on weekend, members of the Pampanga Bamboo Council led by Myrna Bituin said that there is a need to revitalize the program to maximize resources and harness the full potential of the species of bamboo -- the bayog and tinik -- found in the province.

As of 2013, about 80,800 bamboo propagules have been planted by the council and farmer-partners in about 270 hectares in Magalang, Porac, Lubao, Floridablanca, Arayat and other private and public domains in Pampanga, disclosed Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Officer Engr. Art Punsalan.

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“There is this immediate need to assess and evaluate the bamboo program so we can harness its potential, identify market opportunities and supply and demand. By doing so, we can convince the Department of Education, which spends about P1 billion for school desks alone, to use Pampanga’s bamboo desks. There is so much in bamboo that Kapampangans can benefit from on top of revenues. Just imagine the Queen of Belgium sporting a bamboo clutch bag made in Betis, Guagua. Then there is this great demand for barbeque sticks and chopsticks here and abroad which we could supply,” Bituin said.

The non-government convergence group Kagabay, the Department of Trade and Industry, Pampanga Chamber of Commerce agreed with Bituin, and said that Pampanga has a large pool of artisans, craftsmen and designers who could develop other high-value bamboo products both for the domestic and international market.

Punsalan, for his part, said that the Provincial Board, through Board Members Nestor Tolentino of the environment and natural resources committee, and Tonton Torres of the livelihood committee, could sponsor a resolution in line with revitalizing the program and institutionalizing the bamboo council itself.

"Aside from the actual inventory of areas planted to bamboo and its current use, there is also the need to prioritize the program, encourage more support from other stakeholders, institutionalize the council, identify the required budget and address concerns on supply and demand as well as costing. Just imagine our bahay kubo makers in Pampanga still source out their bamboo from Pangasinan and La Union. There are other concerns the council will have to look into in revitalizing the program," said Punsalan. (with JTD)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 09, 2014.

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