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Ugandan bamboo farmer reaps his rewards

Updated: 2022-04-06 09:30 ( Xinhua )
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Having taught at Uganda's prestigious Makerere University for decades, retired Andrew Tumusiime made a bold decision to enter the forestry business in his hometown in the southwestern part of the country.

Returning to Kabale, Tumusiime planted a bamboo nursery bed, hoping that people would buy the seedlings from him. However, finding clients was challenging, so he decided to plant the seedlings himself.

"At first, I took it as a joke, but then I realized it was good business. I turned my energy to research until I landed on websites which explained the impact of bamboo growing in China," Tumusiime said.

To obtain further information about bamboo planting, Tumusiime joined the Uganda Bamboo Association, some members of which had acquired knowledge about bamboo farming from China.

The association, according to one of its leaders Flavia Munaba, brings related organizations and community members together to share information, resources and technology in growing and adding value to bamboo.

Munaba, who joined the bamboo industry after a trip to China in 2011, said the association has more than 300 members.

The association organizes demonstrations for members showing them how to plant bamboo and also helps them to understand the economic benefits of the crop.

"This association of bamboo growers has great people. They are not selfish when it comes to sharing the knowledge they learned from China," Tumusiime said.

After a decadelong endeavor, Tumusiime's bamboo business has thrived. He was one of the exhibitors at the recent Harvest Money Expo 2022 in Kampala, one of Uganda's largest agricultural exhibitions.

During the expo, Tumusiime's booth showed various bamboo products such as toothpicks, chairs and tables, as well as mortars and pestles.

He said many customers who came to his exhibition stand were awed by the products made out of bamboo.

"This is amazing. The toothpicks I have known all my life are made in China. I like innovation and maybe in the future I will consider planting bamboo," Ritah Nanyonjo, one of the customers, said after visiting Tumusiime's stall at the expo.

"I have also seen some liquid soap and other herbs made out of bamboo. This is great news for our country," Nanyonjo said.

James Kariuki, a Kenyan national who attended the exhibition, said he was inspired by Tumusiime's work.

"He has told us that once you plant bamboo, you can start harvesting after three to four years. This harvesting goes on for the next 50 years and even longer," Kariuki said.

"I will definitely use part of my land to grow bamboo. Tumusiime has also referred me to some websites which talk about the importance of bamboo and how the Chinese have done wonderful things with this plant," Kariuki added.

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The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

The 2022 China International Travel Mart was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province today. The three-day event opened at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a theme focusing on smart innovation and high-quality tourism industry aspects.

The news conference was held in the city on Thursday. Zhang Xilong, first class inspector of the Bureau of the International Communication and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Lou Kewei, deputy-director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Yunnan province presented the meeting along with academy and entrepreneur representatives.

The conference introduced the preparations and relevant activities of the mart, such as a forum on smart tourism and innovation, a symposium on international travel communication and cooperation in the framework of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and a workshop on the China-Laos railway’s contribution to building an Asian community with a shared future.

According to the news meeting, the 2022 travel mart covers about 80,000 square meters, with about 4,200 standard booths. 71 countries and regions attended the event both online and offline, and 31 domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions and 261 independent exhibition teams.

Online services will be provided to the overseas buyers and sellers in the light of time zones. They could also have a face-to-face negotiation at the mart as well.

The mart also has diverse displays to show culture and tourism, physical education and tourism, as well as overseas tourism and museums.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Palace Museum and museums from other provinces will attend the travel mart.

At the event, Yunnan province will have 2,000 standard booths in four separate sections; each will show culture tourism, healthy lifestyles, physical education tourism and culture tourism consumption.

The travel mart will also stick to the rules of pandemic prevention and control while having the activities go on smoothly.

The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]
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