Banda District Assembly in the Bono region is gearing up towards the establishment of a bamboo bicycle manufacturing center to ease the massive unemployment in the area.
To this end, 800 people, especially women, will be gainfully employed by the factory.
Banda District Director of Social Welfare and Community Development, Felix Donkor, who announced this at Banda Ahenkro stated the youth in the area are upbeat about the prospects that the project brings to them.
According to Mr. Donkor, the people of the Banda District relied heavily on wood fuel production for their livelihood and their energy needs, accounting for over 90% of all their energy sources.
He said hundreds of charcoal bags were transported out of the district to other parts of the country whilst several others were purchased locally.
“In Banda, charcoal business is very rampant here, people cut down trees without replanting and those trees take a long time to grow” he noted.
Mr. Donkor explained the heavy dependence on woody forests has caused excessive land degradation, leading to poor economic returns from small-holder farmers within the District.
That is why according to him, the bamboo afforestation project and other climate change programmes have been rolled out across the district.
“The bamboo project was introduced to help replace the traditional trees that were cut down for charcoal in the Banda District”, he said.
The Banda District Director of Social Welfare and Community Development further stated that climate change activities were being undertaken in 14 communities within the Banada District, with funding from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and technical support by the Banda District Assembly.
“The capacity of 2000 people, mostly women, would be developed to adapt and invest in agroecological farming practices by integrating bamboo cultivation with a tree growing, food or cash crop cultivation, animal rearing as well as sustainable wood fuel production.
“All geared towards poverty reduction and environmental sustenance within the Banda district”. Mr Donkor revealed.
Mr. Donkor said the Canadian Embassy in Ghana, realizing the potential of the bamboo industry, decided to support the Sabiye community to upscale their acreage from three and a half to 10 acres of bamboo plantation, making a total of 13 acres.
It is envisaged that the bamboo project will cover over 50 acres of land by the end of the second phase of the project, to serve as a raw material base for the proposed bamboo bicycle manufacturing center.
He indicated that the project adopted bamboo from China which had superior advantages over the indigenous Ghanaian bamboo.
“The Chinese bamboo does not have any holes in it as compared to the local one and it takes just two years to mature,” Mr Donkor said.
A beneficiary of the bamboo project, Ralph Zakaria, said they have started a massive campaign to let the people know the dangers of cutting down trees for wood fuel.
“The education is catching up well with the people who are now ready to cultivate bamboo to feed the proposed bamboo bicycle factory as well as cater for the wood fuel market in the Banda district” Mr Zakaria mentioned.