Negotiations, with a potential investor are in advanced stages to set up a mega factory that will be producing toilet papers and other Made-In-Rwanda products from bamboos.
Jean-Pierre Mugabo, the Director-General of Rwanda Forestry Authority told The New Times that the investor will work with government and other partners in planting bamboos on 2,119 hectares in Eastern Province in order to avail raw materials for the bamboo processing factory to be set up in Masaka Sector of Kicukiro District.
The plant will produce toilet papers and other hygienic materials, toothbrushes, shoe brushes, furniture and construction materials among others.
“We are in the final stage of negotiations with a potential investor to help set up a big factory in Masaka that will be producing locally-made products made from bamboo and plant bamboos to supply the factory.
We have to plant seven species of bamboos suitable for the factory,” he said.
The feasibility study for the factory has been completed, Mugabo said but refused to divulge details about the estimated cost and production capacity of the factory.
“The feasibility study is complete, the plan and required cost are also in place but we will provide details about the project when we conclude negotiations with the investor and when approved by the cabinet,” he said.
The factory, he said, could be set up next year while the planting bamboos to supply raw materials will be concluded in the next five years.
“There are already about 200 hectares ready with grown-up bamboos to help kick-start the factory,” he said.
He added that government aims at increasing bamboo cover from 530 hectares in 2018 to 3, 645 hectares in the 2020/2021 to supply the factory, adding that there is a need for 5,000 hectares to fully supply the big factory.
The official explained that bamboos of such kind are being planted on rivers catchments and around the stormwater channels for both environmental protection and supplying raw materials for Made-in-Rwanda products.
One of the catchments is Sebeya Catchment that spans four districts (Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyabihu and Ngororero) covering some 336 square Kilometres.
To curb the flooding caused by Sebeya river, afforestation on catchment and banks also include bamboo planting in partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Netherlands Development Organization (SNV).
Other catchments include those of the rivers Nyabugogo, Nyabarongo, Sebeya, Muvumba and Lake Sake, among many others.
Mugabo noted that among the bamboo species being considered include bambusa textilis , thyrsostachys siamensis , dentroclamus giganteus, dentroclamus barbaturus, dentroclamus strictus and dentroclamus latiflorus.
One hectare of bamboos requires Rwf2 million to be planted, according to available information.
Some of the species are also being planted in recreational spaces and gardens such as Nyandungu Ecotourism Park.
Nyandungu bamboo greenhouse in the City of Kigali is one of the nurseries with new species.
Another greenhouse for the bamboo species multiplication is set to be in Rwamagana District.
“This forthcoming tree planting season, we are to plant 600 hectares of bamboos in other areas of the country apart from Eastern province” he Mugabo said.
He said the government has started to privatize state forests including bamboo forests.
“So far 30 per cent is privatized and 10 per cent will be privatized soon ahead of the 80 per cent target in 2024,” he added.
Rwanda has reached 30 per cent forest coverage, meeting the goal that had earlier been set up for 2020.
“We are also upgrading the national tree seed centre. The upgrading of one in Huye is at 60 per cent while building the new one in Gatsibo district is at 30 per cent,” he said.
Mugabo said that they seek Tree Seed Centre of Excellence with research technology in tree seeds.