By Danny O. Calleja
LEGAZPI CITY — Bamboo handicrafts, furniture and shoots remain the Philippines’ export performer generating over US$ 5 million a year. And developing this towering plant, considered the giant weed, into a major industry, would make it another export winner for the country, according to an expert.
The United States is the country’s bamboo furniture and handicrafts’ biggest market and other buyers include Taiwan and Australia. Shoots are also being exported to Taiwan although Philippine production still lacks in volume. In local supermarkets, bamboo shoots are sold at P60 per kilo while its farm gate price is only P10 per kilo.
“Our advantage is our ability to make marvelous designs of world-class bamboo furniture and handicrafts, ” Romualdo Sta. Ana, president of the Philippine Bamboo Foundation (PBF) and a former member of the Board of Trustees of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) based in Beijing, China, said in a statement here recently.
“Unfortunately, most of our great designers are also pirated by other countries, ” Sta. Ana, who is also International Consultant of the Cane and Bamboo Upgradation Program based in India, revealed. Nonetheless, he said bamboo should be given importance in the Philippines as the country can prosper faster with its development as a major industry. “We have been talking about it as early as the ’70s but it did not make much wave until Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgardo Manda came to China and invited to the bamboo forest in Anji City. “
Amazed by what he saw and experienced at the city’s bamboo forest, Sta. Ana said Manda, upon returning to the country, joined him and the rest of the bamboo advocates in helping promote the development of the Philippine bamboo industry. (PNA) DCT/LQ/DOC/cbd