Altavasnons eager to try 'engineered' bamboo


Altavasnons eager to try 'engineered' bamboo

by Venus G. Villanueva

Altavas, Aklan (16 July) -- Altavasnons who attended the recent advocacy program conducted by the Provincial Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (PMSMED) Council in celebration of SMED Week in Altavas, Aklan expressed eagerness to take on the'engineered bamboo' industry.

Engineered bamboo is now a flagship project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which involves the processing of slats into pressed bamboo which could substitute for lumber.

DTI Provincial Director Diosdado P. Cadena, Jr. said the industry can create employment and provide income for bamboo growers in Aklan.

Based on a survey conducted in the area, Altavas has a total of 60 hectares planted to bamboo. Other municipalities too, have large areas planted to bamboo, but disposal or marketing is not maximized due to difficulty in bringing the bamboos from the uplands to the lowlands where it is in demand.

Director Cadena said engineered bamboo has a ready market in the Department of Education (DepEd), which he said, has a Memorandum of Agreement with them to produce school desks and chairs made of engineered bamboo.

He added there are already 2 companies in Kalibo to take on the job of processing the bamboo slats into bamboo lumber.

Under the technology, slats of regulated thickness and sizes are pressed to form 2x2 lumber or 1x2 with a length of one meter.

Information passed by DTI-Aklan revealed that bamboo is 27% harder than oak and 13% harder than maple.

As a job generator, DTI info also revealed that a 50-hectare farm planted to bamboo will provide employment to a community's more or less 200 residents, composed of bamboo producers, harvesters/gatherers and haulers. As for Community-Based Enterprises or NODES, some 1,300 persons will be involved, composed of weavers, laborers, machine operators, sorters and haulers.

Besides DepEd, other markets for engineered bamboo are the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Housing Authority (NHA).

Even with its newly-discovered use, the bamboo has been recognized too for its role against global warming. It has been given acknowledged and ranked by the Kyoto Protocol as one of the most suitable plants to earn carbon credits. Its capacity to sequester carbon dioxide is internationally recognized, and can store in excess of 40 tons CO2 per hectare.

Unlike timber, it releases very little carbon into the atmosphere when harvested.

At the advocacy program in Altavas, newly-elected Mayor Denny Refol thanked the PMSMED council for conducting the advocacy program in Altavas, which he said is one major way of eradicating poverty in his municipality.

Refol said Altavas is aiming to be a major economic center with the opening of the Jamindan-Altavas Road and the Batan-Manila RORO route, and encouraged the participants to listen well and disseminate to others what they have learned.

Refol said he sees Altavas' future as a center of trade - and a very busy municipality involved in business. (PIA) - - Diosdado Cadena Jr.

Boracay, Aklan