Blessed with Bamboo
No calamity can destroy our resiliency as Filipinos. A famous line from the speech choir entitled “The Resiliency of a Filipino” states that we are survivors “for we are as pliant as a bamboo.”
Bamboo can thrive in almost any type of soil, growing rapidly and reaching maturity in three to five years. It does not demand too much water because of its culms or rhizomes, which absorb and store water during the rainy season, and later provides it to the plant during the dry season. This tree-like grass is known for its flexibility, endurance, and versatility.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo created the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) issuing Executive Order No. 879 on May 14, 2010. This requires public elementary and secondary schools to use bamboo for at least 25% of their desk furniture. Bamboo is also a priority raw material in building government facilities.
Out of the 1,000 species of bamboo on the planet, 49 grow abundantly in the Philippines. Once considered the “poor man’s lumber” is now called by many as the “green gold.” To help Filipinos fully utilize bamboo, the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) developed equipment that creates bamboo products fit for international trade.
Veneers are thin sheets of bamboo that are glued together to form panels, either by hot or cold pressing, conditioned for 3 days and laminated before they are converted into decorative floor tiles or table tops. Instead of costly plywood, these are more affordable and enduring.
BAMBOO FLATTENING MACHINE
This machine is designed to produce flattened bamboo that can be a substitute for manually-made “crushed bamboo”. Flattened bamboo can be made into furniture and flooring products for export.
HIGH-PRESSURE SAP DISPLACEMENT APPARATUS (HPSDA) FOR TREATING BAMBOO CULMS
This apparatus uses pressure to introduce a water-borne preservative into the wood or bamboo to prevent the material against the attack of fungi and insects.
BAMBOO KILN DRYER
Since export materials only require 10 to 12% moisture content, this equipment can artificially dry stacked bamboo in a chamber where conditions can be regulated. Drying time ranges from 3 to 5 days.
According to Dr. Ma. Cecile B. Zamora, Senior Science Research Specialist of the FPRDI, the bamboo industry in our country is still in its fledging stage because the available resources are not enough. “We need to plant more bamboo because technology is just waiting to make different products. The challenge is the assurance of the raw materials for sustainability.”
The Philippines has a big potential in supplying the growing demand for eco-friendly alternatives to wood to conserve the world’s remaining forests.
The FPRDI is open to all interested organizations or firms who want to know the techniques and principles of bamboo processing and utilization.