Bamboo eyed as a key livelihood source in Bukidnon

Roberto Tinsay Jr, vice president for membership of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry presents his firm's bamboo panel board product to reporters attending the Strictly Business news conference at the DTI-Bukidnon conference room on August 22, 2013. Bukidnon News photo

Roberto Tinsay Jr, vice president for membership of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. presents his firm’s bamboo panel board product to reporters attending the Strictly Business news conference at the DTI-Bukidnon conference room on August 22, 2013. Bukidnon News photo

MALAYBALAY CITY  (Bukidnon News/22 August) The Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. is promoting the use of giant bamboo sticks to be processed into panel boards as a lucrative livelihood opportunity in Bukidnon, Roberto Tinsay Jr, chamber vice president for membership said Thursday.

Tinsay told reporters attending the Strictly Business news conference Thursday that there is big and sure market for bamboo boards in the domestic and international market.

He cited the “open volume” purchase order he recently obtained with Home Depot, one of the country’s big home stores selling, among others, construction materials.

Bamboo production and processing is among the forestry-based industries included in the preferred areas of investment in Bukidnon that qualify for incentives in the new investment incentives ordinance of Bukidnon. Amended in March 2013, the ordinance created the Bukidnon Investment and Export Promotion Board and granted for incentives to investors and new investments in the province.

He said the chamber promotes the production and processing of sticks from giant bamboo, which bamboo board producers buy at P5 per stick at source.  He said this is an opportunity for livelihood for those in far-flung barangays with abundant supply of giant bamboo.

The provincial government and the chamber have promoted the use of bamboo, even during the Kaamulan as the material used for the construction of booths, Tinsay added.

He added that Bukidnon can capitalize on the bamboo industry to fill the vacuum in the domestic wood industry, which suffered a blow when President Benigno Aquino III issued on February 1, 2011 Executive Order 23, declaring a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests of the entire country and creates the anti-illegal logging task force.

Tinsay added that 30 percent of the wood industry requirements in the country are sourced locally.

“Bamboo should be the substitute,” he added.

But Tinsay clarified that though the chamber can help in finding the proper and sufficient market for bamboo, it intends to keep it at the domestic level in the meantime.

He said the intention is, aside from propagation of bamboo around the province, is livelihood for the communities.

“It’s not yet for mechanization and not yet for the export market,” he added, although he cited that local panel board producers are capable of supplying export grade outputs.

The bamboo sticks had to go through a process of carbon application as a requisite before selling.

Tinsay said in Bukidnon he is willing to train those who intend to supply bamboo sticks for bamboo panel board producers.

He also cited that the Shared Service Facility project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) can provide support to qualified groups who are willing to avail of a bamboo cutting machine for their livelihood.

SSF is a DTI project aimed at enhancing productivity of existing industries, Director Ermedio J. Abang of DTI-Bukidnon said. SSF can provide facilities to groups but not for ownership. He said applicants, however, should have three years experience in their industry. But he clarified that a qualified business chamber can apply on their behalf.

Tinsay said a group of bamboo stick suppliers from the barangays may opt to avail of the cutting machine via the SSF or should ask the help of the local government who can finance the assembly of the machine. He said the machine can be assembled with around P30, 000.

Strictly Business, is a twice a month news conference initiated by Bukidnon News in cooperation with the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Department of Trade and Industry-Bukidnon. Among its intentions is to help increase coverage of business in Bukidnon. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)