APRIL 20, 2009
(STAR) By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio - In an attempt to help small entrepreneurs earn P250 million in selling bamboo desks to the government, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced they are going to train individuals to develop and build bamboo tables.

DTI said they are looking at helping people cultivate the bamboo industry in order to produce enough to supply 25 percent of the P1 billion desk requirements of the Department of Education.

Currently, DTI is studying the number of bamboo poles and the land hectares needed to supply DepEd’s desks requirements.

After the successful launching of the bayong project, the government’s Comprehensive Livelihood Emergency and Employment Program (CLEEP) is tapping the bamboo industry to provide employment to thousand of workers displaced by the global financial crisis.

Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz revealed that various government agencies are now laying the groundwork for a coordinated work to further develop the bamboo into a billion peso industry.

Under the program, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be responsible for the bamboo nursery and dispersal growing while the DTI is tasked to further develop the bamboo product and look for markets.

Under the CLEEP program, DENR will employ farmers; participants to the Out of School Youth Serving Toward Economic Recovery (OYSTER) and displaced workers to set up nursery for bamboos and after two months the Department will purchase the seed for dispersal program.

Some 2,000 targetted beneficiaries will be tapped and trained by the DENR to handle nursery/growing of seeds. 

Cruz said there have been attempts to put up bamboo nurseries in the country but have failed because there is no market to sell the bamboo harvested.

According to Cruz, the Japanese market will also be explored because of the country’s bias for green products.  “Japan heavily promotes the use of biodegradable and organic products and is an strong advocate of the Kyoto Protocol which encourages the use of green products.”

Consequently, the DTI is organizing a mission in Japan to further enhance the product and seek new buyers.

Another advantage of the project is its ecological importance, which can earn carbon credits and apply for loans at the World Bank.. This can be used to provide for better equipment, seed money for new entrepreneurs, and other infrastructure support for the industry

Laguna will serve as the first pilot site due to its abundance of water resources specially areas around the Laguna lake. DENR and DTI are in consultation with the Laguna Lake Development Authority for the implementation of the project.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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