Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding

between FAO and the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR)

18 November 2020

As prepared 


Dear Madam Jiang Zehui, Co-Chair of INBAR Board of Trustees,

Dear Mr Ali Mchumo, Director General of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR),

Dear Colleagues,

  1. It is a pleasure to celebrate the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between our two organizations.

  2. Last December, on the sidelines of the FAO Council, Mr Mchumo and I discussed ways to strengthen the cooperation between our two organizations.

  3. FAO and INBAR had collaborated in the past occasionally, on publications, missions for project development as well as joint work on statistics and workshops.

  4. With this MoU, we have a solid forward-looking framework for systematic collaboration that leads to concrete results.

  5. Over the last 30 years, the total area of bamboo worldwide has increased by some 50%, reaching 35 million hectares, according to FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020.

  6. Bamboo and rattan are among the fastest-growing plant species and have the unique potential to contribute to livelihoods support (light industry), carbon sequestration, land restoration and the provision of sustainable bioenergy.

  7. I note that INBAR estimates that the global bamboo and rattan sector has a trade value of around USD 60 billion providing great income opportunities to smallholders and businesses worldwide.
  8. Bamboo can be regarded as a kind of ‘cash tree’, with a great return on investment, such as for food (young shoots), fiber, fuel and fine arts.

  9. In my hometown in the Hunan Province of China, for example, the production value of the bamboo industry is expected to jump from around US$1.6 billion in 2017 to around $8 billion this year, mostly from associated businesses like bamboo shoots processing, bamboo-based panels, bamboo furniture, bamboo handicrafts, bamboo products for fish catching, and comprehensive utilization of bamboo residues[1].


  10. A Chinese poet wrote “I’d rather live without meat than without bamboo … “[2], highlighting the importance of bamboo in the Chinese culture and in our daily life – an appreciation that is also felt in other regions and cultures.

  11. Through our strengthened cooperation we will support Members improve food security and nutrition; transform agri-food systems; create employment and generate income while protecting biodiversity and ecosystems (rational land use of hills and mountains) and addressing climate change (reducing soil erosion).

  12. We will help countries use bamboo and rattan in an effective manner that contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

  13. Together we will generate and share knowledge, innovative products and technologies, as well as data and information related to bamboo and rattan.

  14. I invite INBAR to take full advantage of the various digital platforms and information tools that FAO offers.

  15. And I am hopeful that this cooperation and promotion will also leverage additional partnerships, including with the private sector, to increase our outreach and efficiency.

  16. Let’s work together to make the bamboo and rattan sectors contribute fully to better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life!

  17. I wish our collaboration great success and look forward to its fruitful outcomes.

Thank you.

[2] In Chinese 宁可食无肉,不可居无竹, by Su Shi, a famous Chinese scholar of Song Dynasty.