Asian countries incorporate bamboo farming as a part of their culture, substituting it for wood for construction. We have few Nigerians who are into this farming business taking advantage of the opportunity it provides.
Bamboo is one of the most socio-economical farming crop that can yield an annual investment return of about N1.6 million and above every year in Nigeria if ventured nto.
Bamboo farming is a great long-term investment. It is eco-friendly, long-lasting and self-replanting which can last up to 70 years.
Bamboo has many uses, mainly in construction for flooring, roofing designing, and scaffolding; furniture, animal feeds and garden planting.
In general, the farming potential of bamboo has been proven worldwide even to control erosion and slope stabilisation in erosion areas.
A study carried out by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), a few years ago indicated that bamboo is widely distributed in the country, and can save Nigeria trillions of Naira in foreign exchange equivalent, if adequately and sustainably developed for industrial use in the country.
The yield of bamboo is influenced by variety and agronomic practices. You might choose to harvest them at six years. The first harvest could result in a yield of nine to 10 tonnes for a 10kg culm, and the yield will keep rising until it stabilises at 15 tonnes after nine years.
Naturally, the cost of bamboo rises as it grows. At different stages, you can make money in this business even by selling seedlings. A young tree can produce three to four shoots within two months. During the next season, the mother plant and the young shoots would have brought three to four shoots each.
In about four years, the plant would have produced 80 canes and 80 canes multiplied by 200 for an acre is 16,000. Assuming a cane goes for N100 each, that means 100×16,000 which is equal to N1,600,000 annually, after four to five years of plantation and this figure will keep repeating every season.
Of course the price of bamboo increases by age and the ones for staking can be harvested in three to four years. However, that of pole and bridge construction has to be left for about six years. You can start a bamboo nursery and sell the seedlings to prospective farmers.
There is a huge market for bamboo in the country and this is because it has inexhaustible usage.
But you can place a market value on it by making artistic materials for sale to institutions, such as; chairs, poles, toothpicks, charcoals supply for export, matches among others.
Like in any business and same with growing bamboo successfully, there is a need for the right training and in depth knowledge of the processes involved in cultivation and management. Seek the advice of a bamboo farmer with experience.