What the Future Holds for Bamboo and Timber Investments

People in search of lucrative ethical investment opportunities might want to look into what Ethiopia has to offer. An article posted on the Guardian last 10 April 2013 reveals that Ethiopia’s 2.47 million acres of untapped bamboo forest is the third largest in east Africa. On top of the abundance of this natural resource, heavy interest from foreign investors (especially those from Europe) is expected to drive the growth of the local bamboo industry. 

The article quotes Mitiku Kassa, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Agriculture, as boldly saying that the African bamboo sector’s expansion has indeed begun. Ethiopia is a largely self-sufficient producer of bamboo, so the logical next step is to develop the industry’s export potential. Experts are optimistic that the country’s rapidly growing manufacturing industry is well poised to respond to strong demand from the European markets. Such a scenario typifies the kinds of bamboo and timber investments that environmentally-oriented firms like Emerald Knight are apt to market to qualified investors.

ethiopia expansion africa bamboo sector

Bamboo’s fast growth rate makes it a suitable alternative for traditional timber sources like oak and cedar, which normally take decades to replant and to harvest. In contrast, bamboo plantations have an average turnover rate of about three years-a factor that speeds up the replanting and harvesting cycle quite dramatically. Bamboo timber is exceptionally lightweight yet resilient, which is why the European wood flooring and decking industry is becoming increasingly interested in these humble grass species.

Considering bamboo’s high yield rate, it is not entirely surprising why experts agree that Ethiopia is ideally positioned to ensure a steady bamboo supply chain for the global market. This is particularly what Felix Boeck, an associate engineer for a public-private partnership firm, has to stay as regards the east African nation’s bamboo manufacturing industry. In yet another interesting development, the government has banned the retail and use of charcoal, and now advocates the use of bamboo as an eco-friendly cooking fuel alternative.

The challenge, however, lies in ensuring the sustainability of this high-growth sector. This will entail the transfer of best practices and the avoidance of unsustainable bamboo farming methods that have plagued other countries. Consequently, bamboo farmers, as well those in the public and private sectors, must work hand in hand to manage this increasingly important resource and thereby boost Ethiopia’s economy.

With proper management and steady support from both the public and private sectors, naturally resources like bamboo can indeed be sustainable and lucrative exports. Interested investors can count on companies like Emerald Knight to hook them up with stable and profitable bamboo investment opportunities at plantations in other parts of the world.

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