Value-Added Bamboo Processing Development in Vanuatu
Value-Added Bamboo Processing Development in Vanuatu
Creating a value-added bamboo agro-industry for improving rural livelihoods


Vanuatu is a small least developed island country. The service sector is the main contributor to GDP followed by the agriculture and industry sectors on a smaller scale. The domestic industry is quite weak. The country relies on imports for over 90 percent of its commodities. It faces several challenges to its food security, unsustainable natural resource management, degradation of ecosystems and an increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including cyclones, floods, and a rise in the sea-level. The main energy sources include woodburning and charcoal, which puts even more pressure on the country’s forest resources. The project is aimed at realizing the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15 and 17.

Towards a Solution

The Value-Added Bamboo Processing Development in Vanuatu project aims to develop a value-added bamboo sector as a new green alternative for the agro-industry to address the aforementioned social, economic, and ecological challenges, considering the unique advantages of bamboo, such as fast growth, strong-renewing, short-cycle and big-biomass.

Three Chinese experts from the China National Bamboo Research Center (CBRC) were deployed in Vanuatu to assess the bamboo sector situation, and to organize a bamboo furniture workshop to build the capacities of bamboo producers. A three-week-long hands-on training was conducted on how to make bamboo furniture by using China-made hand tools and Chinese bamboo technology /expertise. Twenty local artisans and small business owners were trained to make bamboo furniture streamlined from the selection of bamboo, to apply eco-friendly treatment of the material, to design products, to bend furniture by fire and to assemble it.

Training workshops on bamboo furniture and curtain production were also organized locally. Samples of bamboo products were shipped to raise public awareness of the bamboo industry. To ensure the sustainability of the initiative, four training manuals were compiled on bamboo furniture, propagation skills and cultivation knowledge to ensure technical expertise transfer.

Furthermore, two on-site field missions were conducted by CBRC experts to support the government of Vanuatu in formulating the strategic plan of Bamboo Sector Development in Vanuatu (2018-2028). The Strategic Plan mapped out an area of 56,9862 ha bamboo plantation to be developed and improved, of which 55,677 ha was for bamboo charcoal production, 903 ha for housing, 180.7 ha for bamboo furniture and 225.5 ha for bamboo curtain and handicrafts. Six bamboo species were identified for introduction from China to Vanuatu to upgrade its quality of bamboo plantation to meet the demands of production of high-value bamboo products.

The project implementation involved the participation of multiple international partners, including the CBRC, the Department of Industry at the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, Commerce and Industry of Vanuatu, the Department of Forest of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity of Vanuatu, under the sponsorship of both the Governments of China and Vanuatu, the China South-South Development Center Project and UNIDO.

Through these partnerships, the project fostered innovative solutions by creating an alternative bamboo agro-industry to solve ecological challenges imposed by over logging to meet high and rigid demands of fuel charcoal, furniture and other necessary daily products and to maximize limited land resources.

The project is sustainable for such island countries as Vanuatu since bamboo production is characterized by much lower costs when compared to other products which depend mainly on imports. Bamboo is also a versatile material, which can be used by people in both rural and urban areas. It also substitutes other materials, such as plastic which damages and pollutes the environment, and wood which leads to deforestation. Additionally, the increase in the supply of bamboo can contribute to larger availability of sustainable and affordable housing, and bamboo charcoal can replace woodburning and charcoal.

The project has been successfully replicated in other Pacific Island countries with rich and untapped bamboo resources and facing similar challenges, including Fiji and Timor Leste. The bamboo sector should make a significant contribution to rural development through exploring their rich bamboo resources since those technologies are easy to learn, simple to operate, small to input and fast to return.

Contact Information

Dr. Prof. Ding Xingcui, Director, International Forestry Science and Technology Training Center of National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China

Countries involved

China, Vanuatu

Supported by

Government of China, Government of Vanuatu, China South-South Development Center Project, United Nations Industry Development Organization (UNIDO)

Implementing Entities

China National Bamboo Research Center, the Department of Industry of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, Commerce and Industry of Vanuatu, the Department of Forest of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity of Vanuatu,

Project Status


Project Period

9/2016 - 12/2019

URL of the practice

Primary SDG

13 - Climate Action

Primary SDG Targets

13.1, 13.3

Secondary SDGs

01 - No Poverty, 05 - Gender Equality, 08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth, 09 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production, 15 - Life on Land, 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Secondary SDG Targets

1.1, 1.5, 5.1, 8.2, 9.5, 12.2, 15.2, 17.6, 17.9

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