Bamboo is a giant grass that is not native in Europe. It is seen as an exotic plant widely used in Asia. For many years now, this extraordinary plant, that is native on all other continents, has been imported locally. Slowly, this grass has taken place in our landscapes in France but also more widely in Europe.
Recently, environmental considerations and the resulting opportunities for social et economic considerations, have pushed entrepreneurs such as Cobratex’ associates take part in the development of the bamboo value chain. Upstream, many have been proactive to structure farming in order to anticipate future needs for this raw material. Bamboo grows very quickly both in the air and in the soil. These bamboo poles and rhizomes absorb tremendous amounts of CO2 and other chemicals, as well as producing incredible quantities of oxygen (see detailed article). To fully benefit from mature bamboo harvests, you need to wait 5 to 10 years. In order to counterbalance this significant lead time, many different paths were taken in order to take the step. Bamboo shoots can be eaten and young plants are appropriate for the paper industry due to the limited amount of lignin inside them.
In France, currently, the main reference is clearly the “Bambouseraie” in the “Cévenne”, in the heart of our Region, here in “Occitanie”, which has just blown its 160th candle. This enormous parc is still the biggest in Europe. Put aside the zenitude it provides, it counts over 1.000 bamboo species spread-out over 15 hectares. Other sites farm bamboo poles specifically to be sold.
Other historic references have gone towards bamboo agriculture by other means. Bambouscoopic, the reference, has dedicated over 30 years to consolidate the overall value chain putting forward the production and management of marquees. This cooperative community-oriented enterprise also leads the challenging IBABE project (“Institut de Biotechnologies Appliquées au Bambou Européen”). We can also put forward Bambouctou (implanted at only 7km from Cobratex) involved in the entertainment sector and very proactive in the different bamboo communities. Bamboo For Life (ex-Phytorem – see detailed article) developed its business model around the bamboo filtering properties used for to purify dirty, contaminated and polluted water, in order to stimulate bamboo farming. Horizom, a new comer, is enabling new plantation to appear based on the carbon neutrality concept. We can count over 80 new farmers who have started planting these last few years. We are very happy to see that the bamboo value chain is growing fast and consolidating itself. It has support from several international organisations such as the AEB (Association Européenne du Bambou), the WBO (World Bamboo Organisation) and the INBAR (International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation).
On the European continent, France is not the only country to be moving forward, we can also count on Bamboologic, which promotes and supports Europe bamboo farming and has officially announced two new farming sites in Portugal. In Italy, OnlyMoso has also developed a specific offer to, once again, stimulate bamboo farming.
As you can see by reading this article, Cobratex is very far from being the only one to be committed to bamboo. We are delighted to take part in this emerging value chain, which has such a positive impact on the environment, society and the economy in France and on the whole European continent. On behalf of Cobratex, I wish to congratulate all of you for your dedication !