The Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has united with researchers from the University of Ibadan (UI) and Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in a collaboration to promote sustainable development in plywood production through the use of bamboo.
RMRDC Director-General H.D. Ibrahim explained that with the investment opportunities available in plywood and ply-bamboo production, a number of private investors had shown interest in establishing bamboo plantations. Ibrahim indicated that the council has been working with these investors to make that goal a reality.
The RMRDC’s promotion of the ply-bamboo subsector to investors is important given Nigeria’s current quantities of the plant and thus its great potential for profitability.
Apart from saving foreign exchange, the initiative is expected to stimulate the development of small- and mid-sized enterprises, alleviate poverty and create jobs. With cultivation of the crop taking place across 23 states in Nigeria, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has estimated the volume of bamboo growing in the country to be about 460,000 cubic meters.
According to Ibrahim, one major way plywood production can be increased in Nigeria is by promoting the availability of prime wood species through the establishment of plantations and the incorporation of bamboo into the ranks of mainstream raw materials for plywood production. He added that bamboo is the principal raw material for plywood production in China.
“I wish to say that lack of guaranteed supply of the right type of wood will continue to affect investment in heavy equipment and machinery in the sector,” the director-general said.
“The council is preparing to carry out a technical audit of the mills in collaboration with the Bureau for Public Enterprises. This will indicate the present state of the equipment and the need and extent of refurbishment required prior to privatization or investment promotion of the ply mills.”