The production of artificial bamboo begins in this nursery, where a variety of herbs are grown. When mature, the bamboo poles are cut into tiny strips which are glued together to form beams.
Typically replacing wood, these bamboo pieces go beyond lumber. This processing plant outside of Kampala manufactures corrugated roofing sheets, tiles, and even fiberglass.
“What we see is not just a round, golden tube like the ones behind me. What we see is an industrial-grade material, a raw material that can do so many things. ‘Amabanda is here to close the commercialization and industrialization of bamboo’. explained Robert Semakula.
These light and sophisticated bamboo products are transported to Europe where a start-up transforms them, using high-tech processes, into fine fibers that are glued together to make materials used in cars, planes, and wind turbines.
The tensile strength of bamboo is stronger than that of steel, which is why it is considered to be used to reinforce constructions.
The team here works full days to produce a container of strips, but it takes 5,000 rods a month to keep up with demand.
In Uganda, commercial plantations are still few and young, so their biggest challenge at the moment is access to bamboo.