Cameroon is blessed with both indigenous and exotic bamboo species found in nine out of ten regions. Literature review revealed the presence of at least eight bamboo species which are Bambusa vulgaris, Bambusa vitata, Bambusa arundinaceae, Yushania aplina, Phyllostachys aurea, Oxytenanthera abissinica, Puelia atractocarpa and Microbambus macrostachys. The bamboo inventory carried out in three out of the nine regions by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) in 2016 demonstrated that we have about 121 580 922 bamboo rhizomes.
Indeed, Bamboo is exported worldwide as raw material, semi-finished and finished products, as INBAR indicated in 2000, an annual exportation cost of raw bamboo in Asia at 8.9 billion US Dollars With such a great potential, the industrialization of bamboo can considerably contribute to Cameroon sustainable development by exporting, processing, using it for agriculture and pharmaceutical purposes.
In the pharmaceutical sector for instance, bamboo can be used for drugs and cosmetic products manufacturing. Bamboo salts are used as ingredient for toothpaste, soap, face mask pack, bakery confectionery, vaginal detergent, meanwhile bamboo leaves are used to resolves phlegm, epilepsy, lung inflammations, mucous in children, fever, cerebral infections, stomach heat and finely milled bamboo powder is used as an exfoliant (Rahul Shukla, Sumit G, Sajal S, P K Dwivedi, 2015).
Also, bamboo nutritional elements are found in bamboo shoots which are used in Asia as a vegetable. Bamboo shoots are low in fat content, but contain considerable amount of carbohydrate, potassium and dietary fibres (Choudhury, Sahu, & Sharma, 2012). The presence of high fibre and phytosterols in bamboo shoot reduces fat and cholesterol level of blood making them one of the most sought after health foods among patients with life style related disorder (Nongdam & Tikendra, 2014)
In addition, bamboo grows on unfertile soil, with this ability. Bamboo can help in soil fertility restoration or maintained through bamboo abundant litter fall which when decomposed, integrates into the soil and improve soil biological, physical and chemical properties. Again due to bamboo canopy, it reduces erosion (both water and wind agent are controlled). Doing so, rainfall water run-off rate under bamboo trees is reduced, thanks to the presence of bamboo abundant litter thus increase infiltration rate and soil mineral retention.
Given that the national inventory was partial, it becomes difficult to estimate the total country bamboo stock. This situation can’t enable us to develop an industrial sector of bamboo with partial data. And if after completing national bamboo inventory data, we notice that these bamboo resources are not sufficient for industrialization of this sector we need to: master bamboo vegetative propagation in order to create plantations to increase bamboo resources in Cameroon and have capacity building in bamboo industrialization manufacturing products for us to be familiar with Asian bamboo technology.
Because, these bamboos can be processed into various products such as bamboo toothpicks, bamboo paper, bamboo pulp, bamboo charcoal, bamboo building panels, bamboo laminated furniture, bamboo textiles, bamboo structural lumber, bamboo scrimber, bamboo plywood, bamboo vinegar and bamboo bathing products.
Choudhury, D., Sahu, J. K., & Sharma, G. D. (2012). Value addition to bamboo shoots: A review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 49(4), 407–414. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-011-0379-z
Nongdam, P., & Tikendra, L. (2014). The Nutritional Facts of Bamboo Shoots and Their Usage as Important Traditional Foods of Northeast India. International Scholarly Research Notices, 2014, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/679073
Rahul Shukla, Sumit G, Sajal S, P K Dwivedi, A. M. (2015). Medicinal importance of bamboo. International Journal of Biopharm & Phytochemical Research, 1(1), Jan(DECEMBER 2011), 8–15. Retrieved from http://www.indianforester.org
By Vanessa MANKOU