Bamboo and rattan are strong strategic forest resources that can produce jobs and generate income to millions of people in rural areas, create new flows of income for communities and overturn land deterioration and deforestation.
However the progress toward this extensive development is slow, caused by a lack of coordination between bamboo and rattan experts and agencies, technical knowledge that is difficult to access and the need for new proof that countries can use to harness these resources to improve economic growth.
The new GABAR initiative, launched today at the World Forestry Congress, will help improve this situation. GABAR (for Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan) brings together some 41 bamboo and rattan resource countries, research partners, development agencies and technical specialists. It will provide rapid access to knowledge such as forest management practices, examples of bamboo and rattan value chains and business cases, studies and natural resource assessments, and input to policy issues. These are issues countries must address to create a favourable investment climate to develop these sectors.
The ability to tap the full economic and environmental potential of bamboo and rattan eludes many countries today, says Hans Friederich, Director General of INBAR, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan. GABAR helps close this gap this by providing easy access to knowledge, practical tools and policy guidance for countries and development programmes.
“A wealth of information exists today on how to use bamboo and rattan for economic development. But it is difficult to find, and it resides in different research centers, organisations, government agencies, and with experts worldwide. At the same time there are areas where we need more research and hard evidence, such as: how much bamboo and rattan exits in the world and where is it located; what are the species, their agro-ecological characteristics, water and nutrient requirements and options for propagation and creation of new bamboo plantations,” he explains.