European Union External Action

Bamboo toothpicks production begins, and production capacity increases as Ai ba Futuru – PSAF hands over new machines to the Bamboo Institute

13/08/2021 - 08:35
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Dili, Timor-Leste, 12 August 2021 – The project Ai ba Futuru – Partnership for Sustainable Agroforestry (PSAF), financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by GIZ in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, handed over various machines to the Bamboo Institute in Tibar to strengthen capacities along agroforestry value chains and to improve production and market access for agroforestry products in Timor-Leste.

Ai ba Futuru has been purchasing a variety of machines for the Bamboo Institute in Tibar in recent months with the total amount of around $USD 169.000. Next to improving the production of furniture made from bamboo this support also enables the institute to introduce a new product line – bamboo toothpicks.

The General Director for Coffee and Industrial Plants (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF)), Mr. Raimundo Mau, remarked: “This is a huge investment allocated to promote the bamboo industry in Timor-Leste. Thus, there is a strategy of the government to ensure its return within years through the Bamboo Institute. The need for raw material will motivate many households in rural areas to grow more bamboo and maintain their bamboo plantation, while reducing the exploitation of natural resources as bamboo has strong role in conserving soil and helping absorbed rainwater enter the ground. The government, through the National Directorate of Forestry and Watershed Management, is producing around 10-12 thousand bamboo seedlings every year to support the communities in growing selective bamboo species in their field.”

Despite significant challenges posed by COVID-19 the project managed to have the machines delivered from the manufacturer abroad to Timor-Leste between May and July 2021. Afterwards the new machines were installed at the Bamboo Institute in Tibar and the staff was trained on how to operate them.

The ceremony at the Bamboo Institute today marked the official handover of the machines from Ai ba Futuru to the institute. In the presence of high-ranking guests, a ribbon was cut to celebrate this occasion. The participants of the ceremony came from various government institutions, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, from the European Union, from UN organisations or those linked to them such as ILO, UNDP, UNICEF and FAO and representatives of the media.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste, Mr. Andrew Jacobs said that “the European Union is proud to fund the AibaFuturu project, which also supports the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries' efforts to foster a conducive legal and regulatory environment for agroforestry and associated value chains, support the development of agroforestry systems, land and natural resources management, technical skill development, and market linkages.”

The machines are part of a larger support that the project provides to the Bamboo Institute. Already in August 2019, GIZ signed a financing agreement with the Bamboo Institute and with the assistance of Ai ba Futuru, in September 2020, four bamboo pre-processing centres and accompanying bamboo nurseries were established, one each in Manatuto, Baucau, Viqueque and Lautem.

“We are pleased that new machines for bamboo production have arrived and that the staff of the Bamboo Institute are trained to use them safely to increase the quantity and quality of the production. Bamboo is a non-timber forest product that grows easily in Timor-Leste and it has high potential for future economic well-being as well as for ecological conservation”, noted Rainer Schellhaas, Principal Advisor of Ai ba Futuru and Country Coordinator of GIZ Timor-Leste.

It is expected that through this support and further support from the Government of Timor-Leste the Bamboo Institute will be able to continue developing its business, increase its productivity and produce high quality furniture and toothpicks made from bamboo in Timor-Leste.

 

About Ai ba Futuru

Ai ba Futuru is implemented in the four eastern municipalities of Timor-Leste (Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto and Viqueque), targeting 4,000 marginalised households in 40 selected Sucos. It will increase the area under agroforestry in Timor-Leste by 6,000 ha, planting a total of three million trees. Targeted participants benefit from increases in production, better employment opportunities and improved market access, thus generating higher income.

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