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Bamboo- Addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) | GreenPot

Bamboo- Addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

July 22nd, 2017

Goal 1- Ending poverty and hunger (through bamboo)

The role of trees is clearly understood in the food chain. They are the basis of survival; The producers. Other than food trees provide medicine, shelter and are the main source of energy for human beings. However no other tree comes close to bamboo in terms of usefulness, with over 1000 uses (source of food being one of them. Bamboo’s diverse uses have given rise to million dollar industries and on the other hand, many communities in rural parts of the world (especially Asia) have been uplifted and even transformed by bamboo based cottage industries where they make and sell furniture, handicrafts and bamboo for construction. With about 150, 000 hectares of indigenous bamboo and suitable biological conditions to plant a lot more, Kenya’s potential for fighting poverty using bamboo is great. Household incomes can increase significantly if it is planted commercially. Increased income automatically translates to reduced hunger.
Bamboo and sustainable development

Drought- Results in a great number of Kenyans dying of hunger if they they do't receive relief food
source: http://agronigeria.com.ng

We can’t forget the nutritious meal that is bamboo shoots.
Bamboo and sustainable development

Canned Bamboo shoots

A lot of families live in extreme poverty because of lack of resources or the inability to tap into natural resources at their disposal like bamboo. Fortunately bamboo does not require sophisticated equipment to process; in fact communities in countries like India are thriving due to bamboo cottage industries. Degraded land can be restored to become productive land where food crops can be cultivated.

Goal 7- Affordable clean energy

The main sources of energy in Kenya are firewood and charcoal. With biomass energy contributing close to 70% of Kenya’s national energy requirements, inefficient utilisation makes it non-renewable because and has led to mass deforestation and degradation. As the world moves towards sustainability, clean energy solutions are no longer Bamboo qualifies as a renewable resource because unlike other sources of biomass (trees), it matures in about four years and can be harvested for many years. Other reasons:
  • Nothing goes to waste- every part of the plant is useful.
  • Prevents soil erosion, retains water and nutrients in the soil
  • Releases 35% more oxygen than other hardwoods and absorbs carbon dioxide.
The case for bamboo as a source of affordable clean energy is very clear.
Bamboo and sustainable development

In the Olorropil area where GreenPot is planting bamboo, indegenous forests are being depleted at ana alarming rate because residents rely on charcoal trade for income

Goal 11- Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

In third world countries like Kenya, the rate of rural-urban migration is very high as people search for opportunities with the hope of improving their living standards. However, this is not necessarily the fate of those who migrate, in the case of Kenya, Nairobi is congested- therefore social amenities and jobs are insufficient.
Bamboo and sustainable development

Lower income city dwellers can have decent and affordable housing made of bamboo

Growth of rural economies over the last 50 years has stagnated but this is changing due to devolution. With more resources being channeled to rural areas there’s more reason to stay. The potential of the bamboo industry to transform communities is great enough to reverse the migration trend and grow rural towns.
Bamboo seedlings in Kenya

Women working at a GreenPot nursery. The communities around where we work are benefiting economically from bamboo

The positive effects on climate trickle down to the cities and the use of sustainable bamboo products like flooring and general construction impacts on city life. The bamboo industry accommodates a wide demographic spectrum- from those with little education to professionals/executives.

Goal 12- Responsible consumption and production

Efficient management of natural resources is the only way to secure the future. Agriculture is one of the biggest consumers of water- with irrigation claiming up to 70% of water use. The beauty of bamboo is that in its natural habitat, it does not require irrigation- it is rain fed. In communities where, bamboo is grown- it can supplement their vegetable dietary requirements. Bamboo shoots are not just edible, they are nutritious and delicious. Food security is a major problem in our region and can be addressed by communities supplementing their traditional foods with non –traditional ones like bamboo shoots.  
Bamboo farming in Kenya

GreenPot outgrower in Narok, Mr Sasai intercrops his bamboo with tomatoes and cabbages- ensuring optimal use of his land.


Goal 13- Climate Action

Bamboo can reduce the effects of climate change. It serves as a great carbon sink. This is due to its fast growth. The faster a plant grows the more carbon dioxide it absorbs from the air. Over the years we have seen a drastic change in weather patterns in part due to aggressive deforestation. As we work towards restoring forest land bamboo should get high consideration due to its renewable nature, fast growth and as mentioned above, carbon sequestration abilities.
Bamboo forests

Bamboo is harvested multiple times in its lifetime
source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com

Goal 15- Life on land

Bamboo is one of the greatest tools of land protection and restoration. It addresses this goal with regards to sustainable forest management and restoration of degraded lands. Areas whose natural ecosystems have been destroyed can be rehabilitated using bamboo.
Bamboo and restoration of degraded landscapes

Years of erosion have resulted in creation of deep gulleys that are kilometres long in Narok. GreenPot is working towards restoring this degraded lands using bamboo

Bamboo can relieve the demand on timber from ‘Traditional’ forests; it is a sustainable source of timber because of its renewable nature. It can be harvested every year and used for charcoal production without depleting the forests.
Bamboo charcoal in Kenya

Bamboo charcoal. By the end of 2017 GreenPot Energy will be Kenya's first bamboo energy factory source:myecosponge.com

Bamboo is considered the most strategic tool for afforestation and reforestation for a number of reasons:
  • It takes a much shorter time to mature- In four years you can have a fully-fledged forest.
  • Bamboo forests are of productive use while still remain forests- i.e can be harvested multiple times while it continues to regenerate
For details on what GreenPot is doing to realize the opportunities in the bamboo sector, read our updates here

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by green_admin|July 22nd, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on Bamboo- Addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
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