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Ethiopia - Bamboo to join country’s export list
By Andualem Sisay
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Following the increase of commercial and residential building construction in the country that was led to ever-increasing demand of bamboo products for finishing materials, a local investor has launched a 50 million birr investment on a bamboo processing factory.
A local company, Mirga Wood Industry, is to construct a factory on 3 hectares in Egere, Addis Alem, 40 kms from Addis Ababa. The factory plans to start with products such as floor parquet, incense sticks and toothpicks from bamboo.
“Once we meet the local demand our target is to provide most of our products for the export market,” says Ephrem Gugsa, owner of Mirga Wood Industry. When the factory begins production, it is expected to employ some 100 permanent employees in its early phase.
Currently, some one million hectares of land in Ethiopia is covered by bamboo plantation of smallholder farmers. Out of this, 850,000 hectares of land is covered by low land bamboo, known for its high fiber content, while the rest is covered with a medium density fiber.
Realizing this potential, prior to Mirga Wood Industry, Land and Sea Development Company (LSDC), an Indian, Chinese and Ethiopian joint venture has finalized construction of a bamboo processing factory in Assosa area, Benishangul Region, which primarily produces paper and pulp. Afro-Asian, which is constructing a Trolley (electric) Bus factory located near the town of Metekel also plans to floor board bamboo that is expected to be produced by LSDC.
These days, due to the strength and long quality services, many train and bus manufacturers choose floor board bamboo for their products interior equipments such as chairs, etc.
The global application of bamboo products in both office and household furniture is also showing increment. Cement particle board, bamboo curtains, floor board, floor parquet, toothpicks and tools handlings such as hammer and screwdriver, etc are among the major applications of bamboo.
Dejen Endowment, a company in the Maichew area of Tigray Region and another MIDROC company are also among the major companies engaged in processing bamboo and eucalyptus for various applications. More than 250,000 hectares of land in the country is believed to be covered by eucalyptus.
“Should Ethiopia continues supporting investors realizing the abundant bamboo resource, in two years time the country will become the leading African nation in using the resource effectively, exceeding South Africa,” says Seyoum Kelemework (PhD), Researcher at Agricultural Research Organization.
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