There is currently a lot of interest in bamboo growing and processing as it is a new potential cash crop plant on the market. A lot of its benefits are being pointed out with little attention to the risk part of bamboo farming. Bamboo farming has some risks that have to be managed and the following are some of them.
Bamboo seedlings are tender and need a lot of effort in maintenance when they have just been planted. The bamboo has to be properly maintained during the first three years.
Spreading of bamboo
If running bamboo is not kept under control, it sends out rhizomes under the ground that pop through the land surface as young bamboo shoots and may cover a bigger part of the land if they are not controlled. They should either be cut or sprayed when they are still young.
Growth of other plants
Bamboo grows in huge bushes that block out sunlight from reaching the ground. Therefore, bamboo plants stop other plants from growing beneath them.
Although bamboo is naturally evergreen they drop leaves underneath that result in natural matching. During the dry season, these leaves when exposed to fire and the wind blows can easily catch fire that easily spreads to the whole bamboo plant. However, the burnt bamboo plant easily regenerates.
Bamboo growing requires the implementation of proper farming practices that include initial site preparation and maintenance of the farm. Bamboo will also require regular pruning and harvesting to get future good crops. Regular application of fertilizers may be necessary in case the land is not naturally fertile.
Bamboo has potential demand for the immediate future because of the high deforestation rate in Uganda and its negative impact. You have, however, to be involved in the bamboo awareness and value addition program to create immediate demand. The majority of Ugandans do not appreciate the benefits of bamboo.
The sector is not yet regulated and therefore the application of best practices solely depends on the farm. The bamboo strategy and action plan is the process of being implemented.