Bamboo Commercialization Project

ENSDA is in the process of raising bamboo seedlings for the establishment of bamboo plantations in its area of jurisdiction, with the ultimate goal of establishing a bamboo processing plant for value addition. This will lead to the protection of the soil as well as increasing the vegetation cover in the catchments area. The plantations will increase the carbon sinks, mitigating the effect of climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Processing and value addition will create avenue for more employment opportunities throughout the value chain, thus improving the livelihood of the populace.



  • Project name - ENSDA Bamboo commercialization project
  • Project Geographical location - Narok County
  • Implementing organization(s) - Ewaso Ngiro South Development Authority
  • Counties covered - Narok, Bomet, Nakuru, Nyandarua and Kajiado Counties
  • Project purpose - The project objective is to improve livelihoods and enhance socio-economic development in the basin through bamboo farming and processing for value addition, revenue generation and employment creation.
  • Brief description - Bamboo is a fast growing woody grass. Bamboo species grows naturally on the mountains and highland ranges of Eastern African countries, and in the medium lowlands of other countries of Africa. Bamboo plays a vital role in the protection of the soil and water resources in forested catchment areas. Bamboo has been and continues to be a material of choice for traditional crafts throughout Africa. It is also important for construction, fencing, basketry and many other uses. These myriad uses of bamboo makes a significant contribution to rural income and employment. ENSDA is in the process of raising bamboo seedlings for the establishment of bamboo plantations in its area of jurisdiction. This will lead to the protection of the soils as well as increasing the vegetation cover in the catchments area. The plantations will also increase the carbon sinks, mitigating the effect of climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Apart from the ecological benefits, bamboo has got economic benefits once processed and value added. The bamboo commercialization and processing factory project components include:
    1. Propagation of 2,000,000 bamboo seedlings
    2. Establishment of 200Ha bamboo plantations
    3. Construction of bamboo processing factory
    4. Capacity building
  • Project purpose - Employment creation; 300 direct employment and over 10,000 indirect jobs, foreign earning / revenues of upto US$9.8milllion annually.
  • Project stage - Bamboo seedling propagation ongoing, Pre-feasibility study completed.
Bamboo seedlings propagation

Bamboo seedlings propagation

The process of raising bamboo seedlings started in 2013 and ENSDA has constructed a green house for purpose of propagating the bamboo seedlings. Bamboo requires optimum conditions of high temperatures of above 40o C, high humidity/moisture and a lot of water. This necessitated the procurement of the green house structure to carry out the propagation.

The initial process in the bamboo seedlings propagation involves the acquisition of cuttings, rhizomes and/or culms. These are then prepared for rooting and shooting. Once they develop the shoots and roots, the next step is the splitting process. The splits then produce more shoots as time passes by which are then split again. The process continues till the required number of seedlings is obtained or enough seedlings have be got for planting in the field.

Bamboo propagation materials were sourced from various sites in the forest as well as from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI). These included the cuttings, culms and rhizomes.The materials were planted in the soil media for rooting and shooting to take place. At the start, a total of 25,000 bamboo cuttings were put on the ground.

The shooting and rooting took place producing a good number of seedlings. These seedlings have since acted as good bamboo materials for multiplication purposes.The process of splitting is continuing and the bamboo seedlings multiplication is on course. Currently, a total of 100,000 bamboo seedlings have been realized, as each of the 25,000 seedlings produced on average 4 to 5 shoots that were split.

Bamboo plantations

The ultimate goal of the bamboo commercialization project is to raise many bamboo seedlings for setting up bamboo plantations. ENSDA targets to collaborate with over 1,000 farmers to set up large tracts of bamboo plantations. To start with, a target of 500 acres (200Ha) of land will be put under bamboo plantation by ENSDA to act as a demonstration site and nuclear plantation. Progressively, farmers will be encouraged to invest in bamboo farming.
Currently, ENSDA has raised bamboo seedlings that are ready for planting to the field. The sites for planting these bamboo seedlings have been identified and the target areas are in other ENSDA projects sites of water resource development (water


Capacity building

Adequate pool of trained manpower needs to be created for bamboo resource development through capacity building in propagation and supply of high yielding planting material. The trainings/capacity buildings should target ENSDA staff and farmers on bamboo propagation, plantation farming, management, harvesting, industrial processing, marketing and utilization. Already, ENSDA has trained the fast group of five ENSDA staff. The trainings were conducted by the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI). The trained staffs are currently applying the acquired knowledge in the propagation of the bamboo seedlings at the Green house bamboo nursery at ENSDA headquarters.

Project Objectives

The objectives for the development and management of bamboo are:

  • Contribution to increasing forest cover through the sustainable development, conservation and utilization of bamboo resources through best management practices in gazetted forests, and on community and private land.
  • Support and development of private and community bamboo plantations.
  • Promotion of bamboo plantation, especially the involvement of large number of out growers in bamboo plantation development for afforestation and supply of raw industrial materials to bamboo industry with income generation for small householders.
  • Promotion of bamboo-based small, medium and large scale industries along the supply chain for utilizing the available resources at a sustainable level to generate income and provide sustained employment.
  • To capacity build the participants and stakeholders.
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