MinDA backs bamboo growing for environmental, eco gains

By Ali G. Macabalang

BAMBOOS FOR ENVIRONMENT. Company workers haul uniformly-cut bamboo poles for processing at the Bukidnon Giant Bamboo Resources Corp. (BGBRC), first bamboo processing facility in Mindanao. (MinDA Photo)

KIDAPAWAN CITY

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is now endorsing giant bamboo growing as a potential measure for community environmental preservation and lucrative economic profits among farmers at the same time.

Giant bamboo can “earn as much as ₱200,000 per hectare” every harvest,” MinDA Chairman Manny Piñol said in his Facebook post Monday, citing a prospectus released by the Bukidnon Giant Bamboo Resources Corp.(BGBRC), first bamboo processing facility in Mindanao.

The MinDA corroborates empirical findings that growing bamboo, apart from its potential for water impounding, is an effective step in environmental preservation, notably in quelling floods in lowland communities.

Three years ago or so, the late Gina Lopez, then secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, had awarded the Rajah Buayan municipality with more than ₱2-million worth bamboo growing project in river banks. Rajah Buayan is one of towns in Maguindanao susceptible to destructive floods during heavy downpours.

In his post, Sec. Piñol echoed BGBRC president Rod Bioco’s assertion that “every board foot of engineered bamboo is a board foot of tree not being cut.”

Bamboo growing can be an added income-generating avenue in underdeveloped communities in Mindanao, notably Lanao del Sur, a component of the Bangsamoro autonomous region, where giant bamboos were naturally growing decades ago, according to sources including MinDA communications and public affairs Director Adrian Tamayo.

Meranao elders once narrated that the historical raising of “pandi-a-ranao” (flag of Lanao) involved a straight bamboo pole measuring someforty (40) meters.

Poona-Bayabao, a town in the first district of Lanao del Sur, was once known for being abundant with giant bamboos of such length and quality. The giant bamboo species had gradually vanished because residents had no knowledge of the technical process and its economic profits then, Meranao sources said.   

Sec. Pinol, in his continuing countryside exploratory visits, has discovered the gainful operations of the BGBRC and contemplated to replicate the technical processes in other parts of Mindanao to help transform the island region from perennial “Land of Promise” to a “Zone of Productive Realities,” Director Tamayo said.

The BGBRC is growing and processing giant bamboo species (Dendrocalamus Asper), which has a high regenerative trait.

Several shoots of the specie grow to replace a harvested pole, according to the firm’s prospectus, copy furnished to the MinDA..

The processing company’s “end products are: treated and dried bamboo slats (intermediate raw material), laminated bamboo lumber/beams and boards, and finished products (doors, jambs, mouldings and furnitures),” the prospectus showed.

“Most of these materials are now manufactured in China and imported by construction supply companies,” Sec. Pinol quoted the company management as saying.

The MinDA chief provided the following details of the Bamboo Farming prospectus released by BGB Resources:

– Plantation: Giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus Asper) 100-150clumps/ha, Php50,000/ha development cost up to 3 years of rearing. Initial harvest can be started after 5-6years, but commercial harvest starting 7th year (100mt/ha). Poles should be 3-5years old.

– Farming revenue: owner gets net Php90-120/pole. Yield 120-150poles/ha/year (70-110kg/pole) or around 120-150mt/ha/year. Some farms are getting 1500-2000 poles/ha/year (15-20poles/clump). Farmers can make profit Php200,000/year, year after year with minimal maintenance cost (no replanting, fertilizer, etc). Harvesting crew get P50-80/pole depending on terrain, generating income of >P8,000/16mt truck-load per 4-5days per crew of 6-7pax.

– Supply: ideally within 30km radius to control trucking cost <P50/pole or P0.50/kg. Plant capacity to do 60,000mt/year (2shifts) or 600,000poles/year, which can be supplied from just 600hectares of giant bamboo.

– Buying price: P2.50/kg delivered/unloaded basis.

– Production capacity (when finished): 200mt/day or 2,000 of fresh poles (3-5 years old at 40%mc) yielding 24,000 boardfeet/day. Investment Php150M.

– Cost: Php55/BF, dried, treated slats, which we export at Php65/BF, or we laminate costing another P20/BF, and sell as engineered bamboo lumber or beams for P100/bf and panel boards for P120/bf (ex-plant Bukidnon)… If we process further into mouldings, floor panels, doors or jambs we can sell P180-250/bf, while furniture can fetch P300-500/bf.

– Products: treated and dried bamboo slats (intermediate raw material), laminated bamboo lumber/beams and boards, and finished products (doors, jambs, mouldings and furnitures). AGM

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