In Summary
  • Environmentally, the grass is an excellent carbon sink and is also great in raising the water table, making it a valuable partner in combating climate change.
  • When selecting the plantation site, check the quality of the soil. Bamboo is a very versatile plant and can grow in almost any soil type.
  • Bamboo grows best with ample water but the roots must not become soggy and waterlogged. Planting should coincide with the start of the rainy season.
  • Bamboo plantlets normally take three to four years to mature. Each bamboo plantlet produces multiple shoots during its lifetime.

Bamboo is billed as a wonder grass because of its many uses. Julius Sigei spoke to Kelvin Kaloki, the managing director at Africa Plantation Capital (APC), which partners with bamboo farmers on the crop’s management and markets.

Why all this craze about bamboo?

Bamboo is rightly regarded as a miracle plant. It is used in building, manufacturing, decoration, food and fuel. It used in place of steel within the construction industry, as well as for flooring, board mats, tiles and panels. It is also widely used in the textile industry.

Besides, bamboo makes excellent bikes, charcoal and fibre for different industrial uses. Moreover, bamboo shoots are a famous delicacy in parts of the world.

Environmentally, the grass is an excellent carbon sink and is also great in raising the water table, making it a valuable partner in combating climate change.

Bamboo also helps to prevent soil erosion. It quickly regenerates once fruitless soil. It also grows at an astonishing rate and it can be harvested without killing it.

This is the crop that the government needs to use to achieve the 10 per cent forest cover target.

What are the best conditions for growing bamboo?

It is vital to have qualified agronomists when it comes to the management of bamboo plantations. Knowing the lowest temperature possible in your region is an essential first step to choosing a bamboo species to grow.

Warm, temperate, tropical climates offer optimum conditions for most bamboo species though it is possible to grow bamboo in adverse conditions such as desert or mountain climates when the correct species is chosen.

When selecting the plantation site, check the quality of the soil. Bamboo is a very versatile plant and can grow in almost any soil type.

However, having the ideal soils will encourage healthier root systems, promote accelerated growth and grow more attractive plants.

Even though it can grow in almost any soil type, bamboo does best in soil that is aerated, light in structure and rich in organic nutrients.

Bamboo grows best with ample water but the roots must not become soggy and waterlogged. Planting should coincide with the start of the rainy season.

Page 1 of 2