SAN JUAN – The Bureau of Standards Jamaica and the Small Business Association have established the Bamboo Industry Association with hopes of taking advantage of an international market for bamboo products thought to be worth $270 million.
The aim of the BIA is to engage owners of properties with bamboo on the economic opportunities the sector offers and to ensure that standards are met, the Jamaican government said in a statement.
Bamboo is currently growing on more than 65,000 hectares (160,493 acres) across the island.
Industry Minister Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams said the BIA is critical for the growth and development of the bamboo industry.
“We have the potential to significantly boost our economy and generate employment and, in so doing, contribute to local economic development. I ... pledge our ministry’s continued support and facilitation of this,” Ffolkes-Abrahams said.
BIA President Robert Rainford said more than 50 people have already expressed interest in joining the association and that association representatives will soon begin travelling across the country to supervise bamboo crops.
The Jamaican government is looking at the possibilities of using bamboo to make charcoal, cosmetics, furniture, lumber, water filters and other consumer products.