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Agriculture. (Products & Processes).

It takes a hot and steamy climate to grow good bamboo, and that's exactly what the founders of a new project in South Africa's Limpopo province are taking advantage of to complement timber demand in the construction and pulp and paper industries.

Brains behind the initiative and founder of RSA-Logical Technologies is Mara Draber who launched the company three years ago to spearhead the development of a meaningful bamboo industry in South Africa.

A 6,000ha pilot project could well expand to 60,000ha in the next 10 years, rolling the scheme out into other similar climate provinces of Mpumalanga and KwaZuluNatal. By that time around 24,000 jobs will have been created, says Draber.

Initial funding came from Draber's own pocket and paid for 400,000 seedlings imported from India, complemented by a further 380,000 from a microbiology offshoot company at the University of Cape Town.

The project has caught the eye of international buyers. "The first 300,000 tons a year contract for bamboo chips has been received from a pulp and paper company in Canada," she says. "They have undertaken to increase this to 5m tons as our capacity increases," she says.
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Title Annotation:growing bamboo in South Africa with RSA-Logical Technologies
Publication:African Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:May 1, 2003
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