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Story Highlights

  • A major bamboo project is to be undertaken in the community of Peckham in North West Clarendon, which is expected to provide employment for scores of residents, while creating entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Just under $2 million has been committed to the project to date, which is the brainchild of Transport, Works, and Housing State Minister, and Member of Parliament for area, Hon. Richard Azan, in collaboration with the Peckham Community Development Committee.
  • The money will go towards several initiatives over the next 12 months.

A major bamboo project is to be undertaken in the community of Peckham in North West Clarendon, which is expected to provide employment for scores of residents, while creating entrepreneurial opportunities.

Just under $2 million has been committed to the project to date, which is the brainchild of Transport, Works, and Housing State Minister, and Member of Parliament for area, Hon. Richard Azan, in collaboration with the Peckham Community Development Committee.

The sum includes $1.4 million from the People’s Republic of China, through its Embassy in Jamaica; and $500,000 from the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED), being administered in Jamaica by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

The money will go towards several initiatives over the next 12 months, including: cultivating 40 hectares of bamboo; construction of a factory and installation of the requisite equipment and technology to produce a range of by-products; and training of residents in bamboo cultivation techniques and production methodologies.

It is anticipated that the project will provide employment for upwards of 80 persons in Peckham and adjoining communities, and will be developed to the point where products, including charcoal, can be exported within three years.

State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, who officially launched the project at Peckham Full Truth Church on Thursday (May 28), welcomed the initiative, which is keeping with the Bamboo Products Industry Project (BPIP).

She noted that the Government is facilitating the development of the local bamboo sector to provide opportunities for micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs), which can translate into “meaningful development of our communities.”

“Inclusive development, with bamboo, has provided secured livelihoods for many thousands of rural producers (globally), and the same can be done in Jamaica,” she said.

“Our vast resources will produce economic advancement in job creation and poverty reduction, and industrialisation and commercialisation of bamboo products that are globally competitive, fostering trade and development and creating opportunities for environmental sustainability,” the State Minister contended.

She informed that formation of a bamboo industry board is being explored, “which will (have) as part of its agenda, examining strategies and means for social inclusion to benefit marginalised groups, particularly those in rural areas.”

In his remarks, Mr. Azan said the Peckham bamboo project is an example of “what we can do to create employment in our community,” and urged residents to get involved in the initiative.

Other speakers at the launch included: Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) Chairman, Professor Winston Davidson; and Peckham Community Development Member, Andrew Carty.

Several other agencies are or will also be involved in the development and implementation of the Peckham bamboo project.

They include: the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); National Housing Trust (NHT); Institute of Nursing, Technology, and Household Management; Social Development Commission (SDC); and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Implementation of the Peckham bamboo project is consistent with the Government’s Job Creation and Economic Growth Strategic Priority, focusing on development of MSMEs and growth of key productive sectors; and facilitating protection of the natural environment.