- The Organization of American States (OAS) has provided just over J$15 million (US$130,000) in funding support for the Peckham community bamboo project in North West Clarendon.
- The project is being implemented under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce’s Bamboo Products Industry Project (BPIP).
- The funding was secured through representation made by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) under its Community Renewal Programme (CRP) and is scheduled for disbursement over three years.
The Organization of American States (OAS) has provided just over J$15 million (US$130,000) in funding support for the Peckham community bamboo project in North West Clarendon.
The project is being implemented under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce’s Bamboo Products Industry Project (BPIP).
The funding was secured through representation made by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) under its Community Renewal Programme (CRP) and is scheduled for disbursement over three years.
The provision from the OAS will go towards the training of at least 50 to 80 residents of Peckham in bamboo cultivation, by-product manufacturing methodologies and techniques, thereby providing them with employment; facilitating organic certification of bamboo cultivations; and establishing a pre-processing plant.
Details of the funding were announced at a function held yesterday (June 23), at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, where Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Dong Xiaojun, handed over $1.4 million of promised funds to North West Clarendon Member of Parliament, Hon. Richard Azan.
The contribution from China is for the acquisition of a state-of-the-art kiln for bamboo charcoal production.
The Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED) has provided $500,000 to fund training of project participants, while the National Housing Trust (NHT) will assist in constructing the factory and supporting plant.
Mr. Azan welcomed the various inputs which, he said, will go a far way in generating employment for residents of Peckham and adjoining communities.
He also expressed the hope that other entities will be encouraged to contribute, “to see how best we can create (additional) employment across the island.”
In his remarks, Mr. Dong said the Embassy is impressed with the quality of bamboo products produced so far, as well as the attitude of the residents of Peckham to the community project, and is more than willing to assist.
“I can see that they are really looking forward to the launch of the project, which will not only produce a lot of bamboo products, but also generate employment which…is important for Jamaica, as a whole,” Mr. Dong added.
Senior Technical Services Director at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Gladstone Rose, who also chairs the Bamboo and Indigenous Materials Advisory Committee (BIMAC), also welcomed the various inputs.
In noting that Jamaica currently has over 67,000 hectares of bamboo growing spontaneously islandwide, Mr. Rose said the Peckham project aims to expand the ways in which bamboo can be utilised to manufacture a wide range of by-products.
In so doing, Mr. Rose said “we will be able to propel the bamboo industry throughout Jamaica, because Peckham will be a model.”
For her part, Community Renewal Programme Technical Specialist, PIOJ, Charmaine Brimm, informed that the bamboo project is intended to serve as a model for the wide-scale development of the bamboo industry.
She said through the OAS’ input it is anticipated that the PIOJ/CRP can also contribute to finalising the Government’s bamboo Industry Policy, “where, based on the practical experiences that we will see happening in the Peckham project, we will be able to inform the policy, in terms of correct methodologies.”
“We want to use… Peckham as a model…so that we can identify some best practices that we can say ‘this is the way that you establish a bamboo plantation, and we want to see that replicated’. So, we are looking forward to using those lessons learnt from the Peckham model, to replicate it across other communities as well,” she added.
The Peckham bamboo project was initiated by Mr. Azan in collaboration with the Community Development Committee.
It is earmarked for full implementation within the next 12 months and will also entail streamlined bamboo cultivation, for which 40 hectares is being targeted.
It is anticipated that the project will be developed to the point where products can be exported within three years.
The project’s implementation is consistent with the Government’s Job Creation and Economic Growth Strategic Priority, focusing on: special attention to the micro, small and medium-size enterprise (MSME) sector; development and growth of key productive sectors; and facilitating protection of the natural environment.