Sunday, April 21, 2024

Department Of Agriculture Exec Pushes More Funding For Bamboo Development Program

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Department Of Agriculture Exec Pushes More Funding For Bamboo Development Program

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) is urging national agencies involved in advancing the government’s bamboo industry development program to commit funds to the effort to move it forward.

In an interview on Wednesday, Agriculture Undersecretary Deogracias Victor Savellano said the departments of Trade and Industry, Environment and Natural Resources, and Education also have roles to play alongside the DA in developing the bamboo sector but the multi-agency initiative remains largely unfunded.

Savellano, who is undersecretary for livestock, said his office has been obliged to fund the regular meetings of bamboo sector stakeholders in government, including the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC).

“Processed bamboo can be a big dollar earner for the country. All concerned agencies should invest resources in the pursuit of this goal. The (bamboo) program is supported by legislation and state policies but it lacks money to get it going,” he told the Philippine News Agency.

Savellano said the Board of Investments (BOI), a DTI-attached agency, can support the bamboo sector by introducing more government incentives to investors seeking to open businesses related to processing bamboo into high-value finished products such as “engineered bamboo.”

Meanwhile, Savellano appealed to senators to hasten the passage of the “Kawayan Act”, otherwise known as an “Act Institutionalizing the Bamboo Industry Development in the Philippines and Appropriating Funds Therefor,” which is the Senate’s version of a bill already approved by the Lower House in 2023.

He expressed confidence that the bill will be enacted soon, as President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and his allies in Congress strongly support efforts to grow the local bamboo industry and make it a major revenue earner.

“Aside from earmarking funds to the cash-strapped PBIDC, it will also give the council broader powers, putting it in a better position to pursue our bamboo development roadmap. Right now, we (the Philippines) are only a distant fifth place (among countries) in the production of high-quality bamboo products… we can do much better considering our bamboo resources,” he added.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual is the current chairman of the PBIDC while Savellano sits as the council’s vice chairman. (PNA)