Fast-growing bamboo evaluated under mining reforestation rules

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bamboo forest

GOVERNMENT departments are looking to develop opportunities for the bamboo industry as a consequence of changes to rules governing the reforesting of mining areas.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are both looking into the feasibility of having mining companies plant bamboo near mining sites.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu told reporters last week that the mining companies can plant bamboo for extra income on the unmined portions of their concession areas.

Mr. Cimatu said the bamboo-planting plan is currently under study as the government evaluates programs to make mining less destructive to the environment and more supportive of local communities.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said earlier in a statement that bamboo is a potential source of livelihood for host communities because of the shortfall in domestic production relative to demand.

One possible captive market is the Department of Education, which needs bamboo for school furniture, he said.

Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Vice-Chairman Jose P. Leviste, Jr. said that the mining industry had met with both departments “to find a way to address the president’s concerns about mining.”

“One of our solutions to reinvent mining is to focus on the bamboo industry to hurry along the rehabilitation and the reforestation,” Mr. Leviste said, referring to a draft department order of the DENR which limits mining areas for a certain time to speed up reforestation.

“It (bamboo) grows fast, it’s a good product, and it has a potential export market. DENR will focus on the planting side and the DTI is going to focus on the processing side.”

Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Executive Director Ronald S. Recidoro last month told reporters that Mr. Cimatu told miners to plant anything “as long as it looks green” amid criticism of the industry from President Rodrigo R. Duterte. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato