By Frank Ulom
Governor Bassey Otu has prioritised planting bamboo to enhance the forest and ecosystem conservation, which will in turn boost Cross River State economy.
Otu made the call on Wednesday during the 2023 World Bamboo Day celebration in Abuja, with the theme: “Environmental Restoration and Job Creation.”
The Governor who was represented by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the State Forestry Commission, Adm. (Dr) George O’ben-Etchi, noted that planting bamboo could significantly boost the state economy and support the Federal Government’s efforts in combating climate change.
He pledged to prioritise bamboo planting in the state with the aim to boost forest cover, conserve ecosystems, and generate additional employment opportunities for the youth.
He emphasised the government’s commitment to safeguarding the environment, conserving natural resources, promoting sustainable development, and ensuring a healthy environment for citizens’ well-being.
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“We’re convinced that planting bamboo can enhance state revenue and elevate its tourist appeal while safeguarding the ecosystem. It’s crucial to take precautionary measures against climate change,” he said.
Governor Otu urged potential investors and stakeholders to capitalise on the extensive arable land and the conducive business environment established in the state.
In his earlier remark, Mallam Balarabe Lawal, Minister of Environment emphasised the significance of bamboo as a crucial economic plant in Nigeria.
He tasked farmers and stakeholders to increase bamboo planting, highlighting its role in combating climate change, reducing carbon emissions, and serving as a raw material for various products.
Speaking also, Mr Lawrence Adigwe, the Director overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, highlighted that promoting bamboo cultivation would contribute to enhancing biodiversity.
“It’s a rapid grower, maturing in just a few years. This makes it a powerful ally in the fight against deforestation through reforestation and afforestation,” Adigwe said.
On his part, Cui Guangzhen, Director-General of the China General Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria, who was ably represented by Gene Zhang expressed China’s commitment to enhance bamboo utilisation in Nigeria by establishing a thriving bamboo industry in the country.
The highlight of the event included presentations on “Bamboo, The Miracle Plant” by Dr John Ogbodo from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, “Bamboo as a Driver for Poverty Alleviation” by Mr Donald Omo-Dudu from RMRCN, and insights from a representative of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce on the “Chinese Bamboo Success Story.”
The Federal Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the China-General Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria, orchestrated the 2023 World Bamboo Day to globally spotlight the remarkable benefits of bamboo.
CONVERSEER reports that in 2021, former Governor Ben Ayade took all 18 Local Government Chairmen, some legislators and commissioners to France to study bamboo, which to many is already in surplus in Cross River.
To date, no bamboo farm or its equivalent has been established in the state apart from the ones grown by local farmers and in the wild.