Bamboo pushed as livelihood source in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/23 August)- The Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. is promoting the use of giant bamboo sticks to be processed into panel boards as a lucrative livelihood opportunity in Bukidnon, Roberto Tinsay Jr, chamber vice president for membership, said.

Tinsay told the Strictly Business news conference Thursday that there is “a big and sure market for bamboo boards in the domestic and international markets.”

He cited the “open volume” purchase order he recently obtained from Home Depot, one of the country’s big home stores selling, among others, construction materials.

Bamboo production and processing are among the forestry-based industries included in the preferred areas of investment in Bukidnon that qualify for incentives in the province’s new investment incentives ordinance. Amended in March 2013, the ordinance created the Bukidnon Investment and Export Promotion Board, which grants incentives to investors and new investments in the province.

Tinsay said the chamber promotes the production and processing of sticks from giant bamboo, which bamboo board producers buy at P5 per stick at the source.

He said this is a livelihood opportunity for those in far-flung barangays with abundant supply of giant bamboo.

The provincial government and the chamber have been promoting the use of bamboo, even during the Kaamulan festival, as the main material in the construction of trade booths, Tinsay added.

Tinsay said that Bukidnon can capitalize on the bamboo industry to fill the vacuum in the domestic wood industry, which suffered a blow when President Benigno Aquino III issued on February 1, 2011 Executive Order 23, declaring a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests in the entire country and creates the anti-illegal logging task force.

Tinsay said that 30 percent of the wood industry’s requirements in the country are sourced locally.

“Bamboo should be the substitute,” he added.

Tinsay said there are local panel board producers that are capable of manufacturing export grade products.

The bamboo sticks had to go through a process of carbon application as a requisite before selling, with Tinsay saying that they are willing to train those who want to be suppliers of bamboo sticks.

He also cited that the Shared Service Facility (SSF) project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) can provide support to qualified groups that are willing to avail of a bamboo cutting machine for their livelihood.

SSF is a DTI project aimed at enhancing the productivity of industries operating for at least three years already, Ermedio Abang, DTI-Bukidnon director, said.

SSF can provide facilities to groups “but not for ownership,” he said, adding that the business chamber can apply on their behalf if they want to avail of assistance under the project.

Tinsay said a group of bamboo stick suppliers from the barangays may opt to avail of the cutting machine via the SSF or they can ask the help of the local government to finance the assembly of the machine, which costs around P30,000. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)