The Rise of Bamboo Opportunities in Northern Mindanao – an ECCP Coffee Morning Discussion

The bamboo-based industry in the country (and of the world) has seen growth in demand and is substantial in environment-friendly business.

The Philippines belongs to the a-list of the bamboo exporter in the world, including Vietnam, China, the EU, and Indonesia. 

The increase of business opportunities of bamboo and its potential in social enterprise is the discussion on the recent Coffee Morning organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Cagayan de Oro Business Council.

The attendees during the forum with the guest speaker, ECCP Business Council, and USTP Faculty and Staff. (Photo by Joan Sullano-Sheng)

Why is Bamboo a sustainable business? 
According to Ms. Myrna Decipulo, the guest speaker and presenter at the forum mentioned that “bamboo grow more rapidly than trees and start to yield within three to four years of planting”. This means that the bamboos harvest period may be done annually without the destruction of other agro-elements. 

As to sustainability, the bamboo can be easily intercropped with its shallow-rooted crops. It is also essential to rejuvenate or help degraded lands restore and the bamboos protect it from soil erosion. 

The plantation of bamboo requires minimal capital investment, plant-cultivation skills of farmers, and the needed planting materials. 

What parts of the bamboo used for livelihood?
The bamboo shoot or sprouts are the edible part that is used in most Asian dishes and is rich in vitamins and minerals. These are produced in fresh or dried and canned.

Bamboo leaves are used as an alternative food source for cattle and goats. Also, its branches are made as broomsticks or firewood. Bamboo is used as the main component for charcoal, reusable straw, cutleries, and pieces of furniture, and many other uses.

In 2005, the Philippines produced bamboo utensils and cutleries that reach the global market and it is now used as a replacement for single-use plastic ones.

The Characteristics of Bamboo are as follows: 

  • Strong bamboo culms
  • Light but hard
  • Comes in different sizes
  • Abundant
  • Easy to propagate
  • Short period to mature
  • Suitable for various purposes

The Bamboo Production in Northern Mindanao 

According to Mrs. Decipulo, they have surveyed four provinces in Northern Mindanao: Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, and Misamis Occidental. 

These provinces have bamboo farms that are currently producing bamboo species such as Boho. Bulo, Giant Bamboo, and Kawayan Tinik. Other species also include Bayog, Kayali, Kawayan Kiling, and Laak. 

As far as economic and environmental potential is a concern, bamboo is a promising business as most people rely on using bamboo products.

Open Forum on Bamboo Potential and Opportunities in Northern Mindanao.
(Photo by Joan Sullano-Sheng)

ECCP and USTP collaborate on a bamboo project
Bamboo study or plantation has triggered an interest to Ms. Mercedes Mejia, the Business Council Chairman of ECCP Cagayan de Oro and Managing Director of SLERS, to start a bamboo center where business owners and producers can meet to learn, do research, and hopefully invite investors or clients. 

With this, discussions have been made between ECCP CDO Business Council and USTP Board. According to Atty. Dionel Albina, the Chancellor – University of Science and Technology of the Southern Philippines (USTP) “the formalities will be done and it will be approved by the board this coming December 13, 2019. Initially, we are going to set a fund worth 1.4 million pesos relative to the study of the center”.

“All I know is that bamboo has a lot of opportunities” Atty. Albina added. With this, USTP faculty members approached Atty. Albina that they wanted to create another center for bamboo plantation and material production. Bamboo can be used in a variety of products and even in the construction industry. 

With this commitment, USTP has substantial land holdings in Alubijid and Claveria to start small and very soon to add Balubal where can consider for a large scale bamboo plantation. This is to assure the idea of having a bamboo center in Northern Mindanao is on the works and that a workshop on bamboo propagation is settled during the open forum. 

Find out more about the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines by visiting their website at www.eccp.com. For future partnerships or forums, contact their business council through their email address joanne.natindim@eccp.com.

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