Business News of 2013-12-19

UNDP supports bamboo bikes project

The UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme has helped Bright Generation Community Foundation to produce bamboo bicycles as an innovative initiative to combat climate change.
The bicycles, which use locally grown bamboo, were pioneered by the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative and further developed through the support of GEF Small Grants Programme.
Speaking during the presentation of one of the bikes to the UNDP on Wednesday, Mrs Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UNDP Resident Coordinator said the strong but light bamboo bikes could be used for multiple purposes in a variety of terrains.
She noted the bamboo initiative, which is managed by only women, focuses on developing a climate-smart, alternative mode of transport while simultaneously creating employment opportunities for women and youth with little education.
“With GEF assistance, the initiative has managed to improve training for the construction of quality bamboo bicycles and establish a fully operational training centre and bike factory,” she added.
“The initiative has also established a bamboo plantation to secure a sustainable supply of bamboo and to date, one hectare has already been successfully planted with 1,500 seedlings by 25 youth while another four hectares will be developed with the technical assistance of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan," she added.
She said the bamboo plantation has eased the pressure on the dwindling forest and improved air quality of the host community by absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide and generating up to 35 percent more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees.
She said the measures have been put in place to start exporting the bamboo bicycles to other countries, adding that the initiative had obtained international certification.
She said in 2010, the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative was selected as a commitment project by the Bill Clinton Global Initiative University, winning numerous awards including the 2010 UNEP SEED Awards and the 2010 Samsung Generation for Peace Award among others.
“The initiative has also received support from the Nkawie District Assembly in the Ashanti Region and the Newmont Mining Company who are promoting the technology,” she added.
Ms Bernice Dapaah, Executive Director, Bright Generation Community Foundation, manufacturers of the bamboo bikes under the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme said they are working on shooting production from the 100 a month to 500 a month.
She expressed appreciation to UNDP for the support which had culminated into the production of the bamboo bikes for export.
She said a bike cost $100 on the local market and $250 on the international market.