By Saumu Juma
In an effort to entrench bamboo planting in the coastal region, the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) held an Open Day in Kilifi County to create awareness on the importance of vegetation.
Dr. Linus Wekesa, Director, KEFRI headquarters in Kilifi County said that many coastal people are not aware of the benefits of bamboo including making products such as furniture and clothing as well as a very good conservatory measure to the environment by preventing soil erosion when planted along river banks so as to minimize the effect of floods.
He noted that the institute is now training farmers alongside other community members on bamboo propagation and maintenance up to the time it will be ready for harvest.
“Recently, the government classified this as a cash crop, we are now reviving it and preparing the people to make useful products from bamboo so they are able to benefit,” Dr. Wekesa said.
“The suitable areas for bamboo within the region may be limited only along the coastline strip because that’s the most humid part of the region. But now what we are doing as a research organization is developing the technologies that can be able to drive this plant to the drier areas because we want all our community members to benefit from the plant.”
He urged the community members through their leaders to acquire responsibility for the bamboos and ensure that those planted along the river banks are not poached.
So far, twenty community members, the majority of whom are young people participated in training on bamboo planting and skills on how to make products from the plant.