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Youth Look to Bamboo Trees for Jobs

The Ministry of Natural Resources has pledged to upgrade the bamboo processing plant at Masaka Incubation Centre in Kicukiro District to meet the needs of youth seeking training in the wood’s processing.

The initiative will be run in collaboration with Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and Chinese Bamboo Project.

Masaka Incubation Centre is expected to increase job creation so as to reduce high rate of unemployment ,especially among the youth who constitute over 60 per cent of the population.

The ministry says it is endeavouring to integrate bamboo farming into forestry to make Rwanda a truly “green” country, with a stronger economy and more secure environment.

Bamboo processing was started in 2012 by training various people, especially youth, on producing furniture and handicrafts such as chairs, ornamental products, beds, toothpicks and barbeque sticks.

According to Celestin Kabera, an official from RDB, the incubation training centre is part of efforts to provide employability opportunities especially among women and youth through vocational and technical courses as enshrined under the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRSII).

Government target:

Rwanda’s goal is to become a middle income country and ambitiously targets to create 200,000 off-farm jobs per year up from 104,000 jobs available today.

Kabera said the centre will also introduce textile factory producing carpets and curtains as machines are ready to be installed, although he didn’t exactly mention the timeframe.

“Bamboo processing training will help the youth to create own jobs. It is for free and we have development programmes like Hanga Umurimo (create own job) supported by Business Development Fund (BDF) that help the trainees to get loans and make use of the acquired skills from the centre,” Kabera said.

Jean Baptiste Matoroshi, from Kasenze Sector in Rubavu District, said the skills received from the centre have helped him enhance his business by opening a new workshop in Rubavu town.

“I came up with capital of about Rwf2 million; Minirena and the Chinese project gave me a machine for joinery and promised maintenance. I hope to get a bank loan to buy two other machines for bending bamboos and cutting. So my workshop will be lucrative,” Matoroshi said.

He recently ordered for special nails from Dubai that he uses to make chairs, beds and shelves out of bamboo.

He now employs six people, and saves about Rwf60,000 per month.

Magic money in toothpicks:

Jean Bosco Uwizeyimana, the manager of Bambusa Company in Nyabihu District, said after training, in 2013 they started making toothpicks.

“We started our business with support from Hanga Umurimo programme. Now we are earning between Rwf500,000 and Rwf1 million per month, which will gradually increase as we expand our processing project,” he said.

Ivonne Mbabazi, one of the six girls currently being trained, said after completing A-Level in 2011, she failed to find a job. But she expects to use the skills gained after training to start an enterprising cooperative with her colleagues.

Masaka Incubation Centre has prepared bamboo nursery in Masoro, Gasabo District, and has planted bamboo trees around the nearby wetland.

Bamboo resources comprise bamboos from the natural bamboo forests – Nyungwe Rainforest Park in the west and Volcanoes National Park in the north – and are exclusively for park protection.

Additionally, bamboos are grown in northern and the western districts at the outskirts of the Volcanoes National Park (Musanze, Burera, Nyabihu, Rubavu) and Natural Forest of Nyungwe (Congo-Nile Crest) respectively.

Statistics from Natural Resources Authority indicate that government is putting emphasis on increasing the bamboo cover across the country where it has moved from 4,381 hectares in 2011 to more than 20,000 hectares today, the move that will make enough raw materials available.

 

Read More: Bamboo Sticks Production Line

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