Financial Institutions Urged to Lend to Bamboo MSMEs

Photo: Mark Bell Industry, Investment, and Commerce State Minister, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams (2nd left), and Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) Chairman, Professor Winston Davidson (left), greet Managing Director of organic bamboo charcoal export firm, Janitorial Traders Limited (JTL), Roger Chang (2nd right), during Tuesday’s (November 3) launch of the Bamboo Industry Association (BIA) at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. Looking on is: Director, Special Projects, BSJ, Gladstone Rose.

Story Highlights

  • Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) Chairman, Professor Winston Davidson, is urging private sector financial institutions to provide funding for Jamaica’s emerging bamboo industry, particularly fledgling micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Speaking at the launch of the Bamboo Industry Association (BIA) in Kingston on Tuesday (November 3), Professor Davidson said that some institutions are reluctant to finance MSMEs unless they are linked with an existing business, out of fear of perceived investment risks.
  • Professor Davidson expressed the hope that the BIA’s launch “will begin to alert the (financial) sector” to the potentially viable business prospects, which the industry presents.

Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) Chairman, Professor Winston Davidson, is urging private sector financial institutions to provide funding for Jamaica’s emerging bamboo industry, particularly fledgling micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Speaking at the launch of the Bamboo Industry Association (BIA) in Kingston on Tuesday (November 3), Professor Davidson said that some institutions are reluctant to finance MSMEs unless they are linked with an existing business, out of fear of perceived investment risks.

Such a position, he argued, stifles many business start-ups, resulting in their demise.

Professor Davidson highlighted a number of factors which, he said, make the industry low risk. These include: the development of globally accredited standards; availability of a ready market for bamboo value-chain by-products; and an abundant self-replenishing supply of bamboo trees islandwide, totalling approximately 67,000 acres.

“So, if you have an MSME developing from the bamboo industry that already has the international standards…already has the raw materials, and already has the markets…available, on what basis could any bank…refuse to finance that business…what risk do they have?” he reasoned.

Professor Davidson expressed the hope that the BIA’s launch “will begin to alert the (financial) sector” to the potentially viable business prospects, which the industry presents.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Industry, Investment, and Commerce State Minister, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, who has direct portfolio responsibility for the bamboo sector.

She noted that initial product value-chains have been identified “to give us a road map for…standardisation of (product manufacturing),” and urged financial institutions to “get on board and lend the money that is necessary to (fully) put this industry on the map.”

BIA is the result of a partnership between the Bureau of Standards Jamaica and Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ).

The Association, which is the first such local entity, forms part of collaborations between the Ministry and private sector stakeholders to engage and heighten awareness among owners of properties with bamboo, to the potential economic values to be derived from the plant.

JIS Social