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23.01.2006 Business & Finance

Businessman: Develop bamboo as alternative to timber

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Accra, Jan. 23, GNA - A businessman in the bamboo industry on Monday called for marketing support for bamboo products as an alternative to timber.

Mr Gladstone Anderson Agbolosu Mensah, Director of the Pioneer Bamboo Processing Company Limited, said the strength of bamboo, which could be termed as "the golden grass", made it very convenient to be used for many products including tables and chairs, window blinds, doors, and T and G for ceilings.

Mr Mensah, who was addressing a press conference on the usefulness of bamboo, said the current revolution on the grass could provide economic breakthrough to rural folks and further save the forest from degradation.

He, however, stated that bamboo had failed to receive the needed recognition in spite of its usefulness.

Mr Mensah explained that the bamboo grass was stronger than other woods, saying bamboo products could last longer if treated well with the right kind of preservative.

He called for more support from the Government in terms of market promotion and said if encouraged, bamboo cultivation could serve as a major source of employment and revenue for people in the rural areas. Mr Mensah said at the moment the company, which is situated at Assin-Fosu in the Central Region, purchased a 14-foot stick of bamboo for 1,000 cedis and since the it took about four to five years to mature, it had provided quicker employment and revenue to people in the area.

He said as a way of encouraging rural entrepreneurship, Government could also provide micro financing for research into other species of the bamboo grass so as to expand production for both local use and for export.

Mr Mensah said though Ghana had fewer species of bamboo as compared to China, there was more to be learned from the Chinese success stories, as it had been able to research into the grass and was currently exploiting bamboo fully for economic development.

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