Bamboo has been an integral part of indigenous forest in East and Central Africa and more in the high altitude areas. The plant has continued to gain recognition in Kenya for its multiple uses which include; furniture, bioenergy fuel, raw material for floor tiles, construction industry among many others. Promotion of bamboo for commercialization will also 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.
The Authority Initiated Bamboo commercialization, value addition and Climate change mitigation programme in the financial year 2014/15 as a strategy for both conservations of the Mau Forest Catchment and river banks protection and a source of income for local communities. The Mau forest is one of the water towers in Kenya and hold its significance for being the water catchment for some of the major rivers like Ewaso Ngiro South River and Mara river in addition to sustaining rich biodiversity which supports the tourism sector in the region. However, the Mau forest complex particularly the Maasai Mau forest block, has been under heavy pressure from settlement, illegal logging and agriculture.
The objectives for the development and management of bamboo are:
The project main objective is to enhance environmental conservation and sustainability through establishment of bamboo plantation and bamboo processing factory for value addition and promotion of climate change mitigation. This project will enhance economic opportunities and provide alternative livelihoods.
The programme is being implemented in four main components that includes;