The Federal Government on Wednesday called for intensive cultivation of bamboo trees in the country to combat climate change.
Malam Balarabe Lawal, Minister of Environment, made the call at the commemoration of the 2023 World Bamboo Day in Abuja with the theme “Environmental Restoration and Job Creation’’.
He said in building on the outcomes of COP28 – Global Climate Summit – recently concluded in Dubai, UAE, the ministry is taking a significant steps toward a greener and more sustainable future for Nigerians
According to the minister, one of the steps to be taken by the ministry is promoting bamboo cultivation and utilisation.
“Not only does it contribute to the preservation of our environment, it also offers opportunities for economic growth and poverty alleviation.
“Its diverse applications in different sectors of the economy make it a valuable resource for job creation and income generation,’’ he said.
The minister noted that the bamboo’s rapid growth, strength, and adaptability make it an ideal solution for sustainable development and resource management.
“Bamboo plays a crucial role in combating climate change. Its ability to sequester carbon dioxide and release oxygen surpasses that of many other plant species.
“As the whole world grapples with the menace of climate change and its attendant impacts, we are by this event, reminded of the immense potential this plant holds in addressing some of these pressing challenges.
“Bamboo, often referred to as the “green gold,” has been an integral part of our culture and heritage for centuries.
“It has proven to be a true gift of nature considering its versatility and numerous environmental and economic benefits,” Lawal said.
The minister said with shorter gestation period, bamboo boasts of shared and greater environmental and socio-economic potential including for construction and as industrial raw materials.
“Currently, the first bamboo processing factory is being established in Karara, Kogi state with the objective to bolster local content development in the production of bamboo toothpicks and other products in the short and long terms,” he said.
Earlier, in an opening remark, Mr Lawrence Adigwe the Director overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary in the ministry said that promoting bamboo cultivation will enhance biodiversity.
“It is one of the fastest-growing plants on earth and capable of reaching maturity within a few years.
“This is a feature that makes it an excellent tool in combating deforestation through reforestation and afforestation.
“Bamboo products is steadily increasing, providing opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation, particularly in rural areas where bamboo is abundantly available,’’ Adigwe said.
In a paper titled “Bamboo, the Miracle Plant’’ presented by Dr John Ogbodo of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state, he noted that climate change is one of the biggest world dilemma.
“Nowadays the impact of climate change is very high and also strongly felt especially in Nigeria.
“Bamboo trees are, however, seriously contributing to the slowing down of climate change.
He advised private, government and all stakeholders in the environment sector to invest in bamboo projects as nature based resource to improve the environment and also provide the teeming youths employment.
Gene Zhang, Representative from Chinese Chamber of Commerce said they were poised to improving the usage of bamboo in Nigeria through the establishment of a bamboo industry in the country.
“China can lend helping hands on how to set up bamboo industry in Nigeria,’’ he assured.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports World Bamboo Day is set aside to raise awareness about the importance of the giant grass, to social, economic and environmental survival.
The 2023 World Bamboo Day was celebrated globally on Sept. 18.
When NAN queried why the commemoration of the day was being held almost three months after, Hajiya Hajara Sami, Director, Forestry Department in the ministry said it was to ensure adequate preparation.
Sani said that the commemoration was delayed in order for the country to have an impactful ceremony that would accommodate relevant stakeholders. (NAN)