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Bamboo resources, enterprises and trade development opportunities for livelihood development and poverty reduction in Mozambique

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Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world with an area of 799 390 km2 and 17 million inhabitants. The country has vast land, water resources and good forest cover. Forests play an important role in livelihoods and economic development of the country. Food, shelter and energy needs of people in many rural areas are met from forests. Timber industries in the country contribute to the economic development by exploiting and trading valuable timber resources. Overexploitation of commercial timber species, charcoal production, shifting cultivation, forest fires, predatory hunting and illegal logging are threats of the sector. In this scenario bamboo, a vastly available resource in the north and central parts of the country could be used as an alternative to meet the emerging demands in a sustainable way.

Bamboo is traditionally used in housing and agriculture. Trade of bamboo is informal in rural, urban markets and along roadsides. Many entrepreneurs have small enterprises selling raw bamboo, utilitarian items and furniture. This informal sector is growing rapidly and has the required potentials for formalizing and enhancing capacities of people and industrializing. The country is located at the Indian Ocean and already has trade links with southern and middle hinterland African countries. The power generation is rather surplus though poorly distributed and the road infrastructure is rapidly developing. The land tenure system is pro-poor, pro-private for long-term leasing. Present bamboo flowering provides an opportunity for reforestation and natural regeneration of the resource. Therefore, international agencies working in Mozambique and INBAR should play a vital role in initiating resource assessment and development of a 'Bamboo vision' for Mozambique. Participatory pilot process projects may be formulated to transfer capacities, research knowledge and appropriate technology to achieve the global goals of poverty reduction and environment development. Bamboo resources, enterprises and trade development could thereby lead to an economical and environmental 'win-win' situation for the poor and the government.


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