The agricultural department hopes to develop a bamboo hub in the next five years in Puerto Princesa, which it feels is a high-potential business.
Librada Fuertes, head of the Department of Agriculture-Palawan Research and Extension Station (DA-PRES), said in a Kapihan sa PIA on Thursday that they are presently analyzing prospective places for bamboo cultivation.
“Napakalaki ng potential para mag-improve tayo o umunlad when it comes to growing bamboo kasi napakalaki pa ng area natin na dapat i-develop. At the same time, ito ay proteksyon natin sa ating mga watershed. Ito ay hindi lang para tayo ay kumita kung hindi ay proteksyon din ng ating environment,” Fuertes said.
“Kung magiging tuloy-tuloy ang suporta ng bawat isa, in the next five years siguro ay magkakaroon na tayo ng bamboo hub kasi nag-uusap ng ang DOST at DA and in consultation also with Bambusa Princesa. So nag-pledge na rin bawat isa kung paano ma-establish ang bamboo hub. (Ang) CENRO kasama rin naming, DENR, even ‘yong FNRI kasi nagvi-virtual meeting kami minsan, sa national level na,” she added.
Fuertes added that a germplasm collection of several bamboo varieties had already been carried out, with roughly 13 hectares of the Palawan Agricultural Center (PAC) set aside for gathering.
The first collection is a giant bamboo variety, of which 620 have already been planted.
“Ngayon ay pinapakolekta ko ang aking mga technical staff ng iba-ibang klase ng bamboo. Kaya noong nag-celebrate kami ng World Bamboo Day, nagkaroon kami ng planting different propagules ng bamboo. Kapag ito ay pag-ready na for planting, ito ay idadagdag namin sa germplasm project,” she said.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has been approached by DA-PRES to propose a bamboo hub project, in which their resources would be pooled to build the center in Barangay Irawan. Fuertes thinks that with the collaboration of several authorities, it will be built in five years.
“Sa area namin sa Irawan, magkakaroon doon ng bamboo hub wherein, magkakaroon siya ng one-stop shop kung interesado ka matuto sa furniture making o kung paano i-treat ang bamboo, papaano itanim. Kapag pumunta ka roon, lahat malalaman mo,” she said.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which supports the bamboo roadmap, and DA-PRES, which conducts training to enhance the quality of local furniture, are among the organizations working to develop the industry. According to Fuertes, DA-PRES is also undertaking research on bamboo therapy using cashew nutshell liquid.
“Ihahalo namin ‘yon sa tubig, gagamitin natin as treatment ng bamboo. Titingnan natin kung ano ang magiging effect ng CNSL to protect and preserve the bamboo,” she said.
She also thinks they are on their way to developing a processing business and eventually exporting products from the city.
Different agencies such as DA, DOST, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Bambusa Princesa are also aiming to produce an engineered bamboo that will lift the bamboo processing in the city and the province.
“Magkakaroon din kami ng program tungkol dito sa tinatawag na engineered bamboo, so hindi na tayo magpo-produce lang ng furniture na karaniwan, ordinary style. Ngayon high-end na, ang magiging market natin dito ay ‘yong katulad ng sa Ayala, ganoon na,” she said.