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Kenya bets on bamboo trees to tackle climate change

The Kenyan government said Tuesday it has stepped up efforts to reduce the country's susceptibility to the severe effects of climate change by planting rapidly maturing bamboo in selected catchment areas.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Professor Judy Wakhungu said Nairobi is currently experiencing acute water shortage caused by low water levels in Ndaka-ini dam which serves 84 percent of Nairobi residents with water.

"Bamboo can grow in almost any kind of climate and thrive in the poorest of soils. To tap into this lucrative green economy, the government has positioned itself to commercialize bamboo," Wakhungu said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

"The profit potential has become even greater as environmentalists link bamboo with climate change mitigation, and the possibility of increased income through carbon credits," she said, noting that currently, effects of climate change are already being felt across the country.

The world bamboo market is growing, led by China and an increasing demand for sustainable products in Europe and the U.S.

According to the International Network of Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), an intergovernmental organization registered with the UN that promotes the growing of bamboo and rattan for economic and environmental gains, the global bamboo economy is now valued at 60 billion U.S. dollars and is a potential income generator for rural communities.


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