Sustainable Supply Chain for Industrial Bamboo Production

Africa Department
Competence Centre Cooperation with the Private Sector
Agribusiness – Ethiopia
Sustainable Supply Chain for Industrial Bamboo Production
Establishing a sustainable supply chain of high-value
composite bamboo materials for industrial production
and for income generation amongst farmers; creating
preconditions for more investments in the industrial
bamboo sub-sector
TC Programme:
Fortune Enterprise Plc. (Blue Nile Furniture Factory)
Engineering Capacity Building Programme (ECBP)
2009 – 2012
Problems: Uncovered supply chain and need
for know-how transfer
Ethiopia has over one million hectares of bamboo resources
which corresponds to two thirds of all Africa’s current
resources in the sector. There is high local and international
demand for industrial bamboo production. Yet, product
diversification and value adding are very limited in the local
bamboo industry. Knowledge on the potential of the various
possible products is still poor, particularly in regard to
industrial goods and as an alternative material in construction. Know-how transfer for skills development, access to
appropriate technology and standards is needed. Altogether,
potentials of bamboo production for local construction and
international markets remain still untapped.
Our partner
Fortune Enterprise Plc. produces wood furniture for household items such as doors, tables, kitchen, etc. With 130
employees it creates an annual turnover of 1.3 million
Euros. The Blue Nile Furniture Factory belonging to the
company wants to be the first to enter into a new market
segment, producing bamboo panels, beams and blades. The
project integrates further partners for knowledge transfer,
training and support services.
Contribution by Blue Nile Furniture Factory
• Different trainings: in awareness creation on bamboo for
industrial use, grading and standardisation, processing
equipment, management of logistics and transportation
• Training of trainers for two months in China and for half
a year by a Chinese specialist in Ethiopia
• Setting up equipment at the factory for all participants
from the furniture sector and offering training space
Contribution by GIZ
• Promoting the formation of farmers’ associations
• Provision of appropriate technology and training
for pre-processing
• Facilitating capacity development with technology transfer
and upgrading skills in bamboo processing
• Creation of a network and links with other associations,
stakeholders and partners
Contribution by other partners
Ryle Technology Ltd., UK and Beijing Khan Wind technology Ltd.,
• Technology and skills transfer
Forest Research Centre, Bureau of Agricultural and Rural
Development, Forest Products Research and Utilisation Centre,
Addis Ababa University:
• Support services
Strategy and activities
The project focuses on an appropriate knowledge transfer
and a sustainable supply chain for industrial bamboo production. High value-added products are introduced to the
market, particularly panels and beams for the construction
sector, and rotor blades for the emerging wind energy
industry. Such bamboo reinforced polyester resins are applicable for other large-scale composite structures, too.
For production, the required technology and skills transfer
is mainly arranged with a Chinese partner, not only in the
company but for the whole sector. To that effect the Addis
Ababa University organises local knowledge transfer. A
minimum of 7 trainers from the university and private
companies are trained. Additionally, 100 employees of
other furniture manufacturing companies and small or
medium-sized enterprises are qualified. Training on the job
for all participants takes place in the factory. Selected furniture makers participate in two months trainings in China.
Regarding supply, smallholder farmers in Oromia Region
will be organised in associations. In trainings, they gain
skills in drying techniques as well as quality guidance
regarding bamboo for industrial use. A purchase guarantee
for the pre-processed culms is arranged with the partner.
Job creation for women is focussed on and awareness on
HIV/AIDS forms part of the training program.
Relevance for the partner
Blue Nile Furniture Factory is facing irregular and non-formalised supply of bamboo. It needs to create sustainable
supply as well as technical capacity for working with complex bamboo composites. Competence to assist new product developments is still missing in Ethiopia.
Interim Outcomes
The underlying private industrial investment project has
grown considerably bigger in size than originally anticipated. It requires 1,500 ha of own plantations (1,500 ha) and
an outgrower area of 2,000 ha. The original target of 4
farmers’ cooperative in Ambo region would not be sufficient by far. Currently five co-op’s in Ambo region and six
in Sidema region have been established and signed supply
agreements. It is now expected to finally work with 30
groups. Works on two bamboo nurseries has started.
Supply-chain managers were appointed to both regions,
training on sustainable bamboo management to farmers,
grading and standardization of bamboo culms and basic
pre-processing techniques has provided. Gender issues and
HIV/AIDS awareness were part of the training program.
The development of the bamboo technology cluster is well
Franz-Josef Batz
Fortune Enterprise Plc.:
Khalid M Duri
under way and nearly completed. Two positions have been
established at Addis Ababa University, refurbishment of
infrastructure and equipment is carried out and a virtual
network is in preparation. Research agreements are signed
and implemented on bamboo architectural and structural
design properties, norms for bamboo in the building industry and composite materials prototyping. Four academic
staff members from various institutions participated in a
bamboo study tour to China (bamboo plantations, nurseries, pre-processing plants, factories, show rooms, bamboo
trade fair) together with project and company staff.
Expected effects:
Income generation – new market segment – positive
environmental impact – competence pool
Smallholder farmers improve their productivity, secure a
predictable market for their products and take advantage
from the new income generation opportunity. Production of
high-value goods results in augmented returns per bamboo
Responsible plantation management and improved harvesting
techniques warrant sustainability of the bamboo resource.
Furthermore, bamboo has positive environmental friendly
effects in terms of water retention and prevention of soil
Blue Nile Furniture Factory is in a position to improve its
market position by offering a new product range.
The establishment of a bamboo competence cluster is possible and could help to foster South-South cooperation on
bamboo in the entire region.