The Eastern Cape development financier Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), together with its partner, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) intends to launch a national bamboo industrial body on 18 September 2012.
The day marks the celebration of the third World Bamboo Day which aims to increase the awareness of bamboo globally, and promote bamboo for new and traditional uses and economic development. The first was declared by the Thai Royal Forest Department on 18 September in Bangkok in 2009. Establishing a bamboo industry
The local events aim to promote the environmental and economic opportunities and benefits of bamboo, in particular in rural areas, and to further the process of establishing a South African bamboo industry. Guest speaker on the day will be Jolanda Jonkhart, a director at the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), an intergovernmental organisation which is headquartered in Beijing, China and which has 38 member countries.
ECDC established an interim steering committee, following a successful host of the landmark bamboo symposium in East London in August 2011, the first national bamboo conference to be held in South Africa.Funding is required
ECDC project manager Ken Bern says that this began the process for including bamboo as part of South Africa's industrial policy action plan. "Our initial discussions with the Department of Trade and Industry have been fruitful. However, in order to establish an industrial body, funding is required and this is dependent on the body being fully representative of all the sectors which have an interest in this area."
Bern says another requirement to formalise the body is the inclusion of representatives from other geographic areas so that it is representative of national interests. "We are happy to take the lead in facilitating the establishment of the national body. It is part of our goal to make the Eastern Cape the bamboo capital of South Africa," Bern ends.