Sunday, September 23, 2012

United Nations gives millions to Sri Lanka to develop 10,000 hectares of bamboo cultivation and produce electricity from it

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In another seven years – by 2019 – Sri Lanka would come under 10,000 hectares of bamboo cultivation with 150,000 tons of dry bamboo harvested annually. This would provide, among other major economic benefits, 113 megawatts of electricity to the national grid which would then account for 2.7 per cent of the total electricity generated in the country.

Seen here the Minister exchanges greetings with some donor agency officials. Pic by Mangala Weerasekera.

The project ‘Bamboo Processing for Sri Lanka’ initiated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), its Sri Lanka Chapter, and the National Operational Focal Point for Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Ministry of Environment was launched this week in Colombo and set to cost US$24 million. It has taken two years to study the viability of the project in Sri Lanka and to lay the groundwork in place.

Dr Kentaro Aoki, Associate Expert, UNIDO speaking of the divergent economic benefits of the project said that once the entire 10,000 hectares are matured, the harvest connected to various industries envisage a huge income generation for the country and the creation of at least 80,000 jobs. It is aimed to reduce poverty levels in rural areas. He said the bamboo project would create new business opportunities, increase the use of non-imported local products; avoid deforestation; reduce greenhouse gas emissions through bamboo plantation and products; reduce degraded lands and prevent soil erosion. The propagation of bamboo cultivation would increasingly add to the reforestation. It would also fill in old abandoned tea plantations. He said that bamboo comes under the species of grass and it brings in several environmental benefits and production of high quality crafts, furniture and other implements could be produced out of bamboo, and there is a great export potential. It would achieve a dual purpose of high economic as well as enormous environmental benefits.

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