Access to raw materials. Although accessing raw materials, particularly bamboo, is relatively easy for the enterprises located in rural areas, it is difficult for the enterprises located in urban areas. There is not a single wholesale or retail depot of bamboo in any town and city in Kenya. The entrepreneurs have to directly source bamboo raw materials from farmers. As most of the enterprises are small in scale, their requirement for bamboo is low; it is impractical for them to go directly to farmers for purchase and transport of small quantities of bamboo. It is found that enterprises located in Nairobi are generally sourcing a few pieces of bamboo from KEFRI, or are still using the same stock which was supported by an NGO during the establishment of the enterprise a few years back. This clearly indicates the level of consumption of raw material. Rural enterprises which are located far from bamboo production areas are also facing similar raw material limitations.
Access to raw materials. For the first three (3) years of the term hereof, in the event of a shutdown in the Company’s production of Busbar Insulation Laminates, whether or not caused by any fault of the Company, Rogers and its Affiliates shall have the right to purchase from the Company, at cost, upon request from Rogers or such Affiliate, such amount of any raw material(s) used in the manufacture of the Busbar Insulation Laminates as, in Rogers’ view, may be necessary to exercise its rights hereunder during the period of such shutdown. Immediately upon any such request from Rogers, the Company shall inform Rogers in writing the extent of its then existing supply of such raw material, and shall deliver the requested amounts to Rogers, at Rogers’ sole expense, in the manner and at the time(s) required by Rogers.
Access to raw materials. Industrial processing and production needs large quantities of bamboo of a specific species, age-class and dimensions (diameter wall thickness, internodal length, etc.). Unfortunately, harvesting bamboo is banned in government-managed forest (except for two licenced companies) and production on private land is negligible with regard to the consumption scale of industries. In addition, bamboo production on private land is scattered. Nevertheless, private companies can practice controlled sustainable harvesting from natural forests with the licence/permit from KFS. BTC and GPE are the companies which have special user-right licences from KFS to harvest bamboo in 3,000 and 5,000 hectares of natural forests, respectively. It is important to note that the bamboo forests allocated were not managed, and it will be required to invest firstly to transform the unmanaged bamboo forests into a sustainable bamboo forest regime to suit the quality standards of raw material required. This will entail large investment in clearing out debris and dead bamboo poles (which are unusable) and create space for new growth of bamboo culms, sustainable management, age marking and mature bamboo pole extraction of specified quantity and quality. For industrial application, bamboo raw material of specific quantities, as per specified quality, is necessary, which will only be possible in sustainably- managed natural forests, rather than in unmanaged forests. For maintaining the health of bamboo forests and to enhance the climate change mitigation potential of bamboo forests, regular harvesting and management practices are necessary. Fig. 22: Unmanaged bamboo forest in Mount Kenya and Aberdare Range The GPE has a long-term plan to create a resource base on private lands. The company has taken three approaches to creating a resource base: planting bamboo on the purchased land, planting bamboo on the leased land and contract farming with farmers. Currently, the GPE is aggressively engaged in promoting bamboo cultivation on private land. The company has done contract farming with more than 500 farmers and each farmer has planted 125–500 seedlings, mostly Dendrocalamus asper and Dendrocalamus membranaceus. Likewise, GPE has planted more than 300,000 seedlings on more than 1200 acres of leased and purchased land. Moreover, the company has a long-term plan to upscale bamboo plantation areas on leased land as well as adopting a contract farming approach. The company is facing challenges in mobilising farmers in forming farmers’ groups and their networks, and motivating farmers for commercial cultivation of bamboo, as social mobilisation is not its area of expertise. The African Plantation Capital (APC) is also another private company venturing into planting bamboo and is also using the contract farming approach. They have planted 72ha in Kilifi County (at the Kenyan coast), mainly with Bambusa vulgaris species, and are looking at reaching the first 100ha soon.