Bamboo agriculture has grown in the past few years simply because the use of bamboo is on the rise. Whether the bamboo is being used in a practical way on the farm, or being used as a harvested crop, bamboo agriculture is touted as being environmentally friendly and easy to grow, with many benefits for those who grow it as well as those who harvest it.
Growing bamboo is considered eco-friendly agriculture because growing bamboo crops is actually quite healthy for the environment. Unlike other crops, bamboo requires little to no pesticides to grow because of a natural bio-agent that is bound to the plant at the molecular level called bamboo kun. This creates very little surface runoff in the end, and saves on water as well.
The way bamboo grows is also environmentally friendly. The root systems of bamboo are thickly clumped balls. This helps keep soil together, and protects against erosion. The debris that falls from a growing clump of bamboo is also good because it fertilizes the ground at the base of the bamboo culms and feeds it, eventually fertilizing the soil as well, which may have become desertified through many years of planting other crops.
Practical uses in agriculture
The practical uses for bamboo in agriculture are what many people used wood for centuries ago. But bamboo has proven to be stronger in tensile strength than steel, more flexible, and resistant against infestation and disease. Thus it has become something to use in agriculture as a tool as much as it has been a crop.
Some of the uses for bamboo in practical agriculture include:
- Vegetable stakes
- Bean poles
- Trellis poles
- Shade laths
- Irrigation pipes
- Irrigation ditch linings
These practical uses make bamboo invaluable as a tool for farmers. But as a crop, bamboo is also quite profitable as products made from bamboo are used and requested more and more frequently.
Bamboo crops can be grown for many reasons, depending on the species and the intended end product. As the need for bamboo grows because of its reputation, there are crops of bamboo grown for many different purposes. These purposes can include:
- Plant matter - Landscaping, gardens, and raw bamboo decorative items
- Food - Bamboo shoots
- Construction material - Bamboo lumber, fencing, and roofing tiles
- Musical instruments - Flutes, drums, and saxophones
- Furniture and crafts - Chairs, tables, sofas, armoires, picture frames, decorative wall hangings, weapons, rugs, bed frames, blinds, curtains, baskets, and jewelry
- Conservation - Use of bamboo crops to lessen soil erosion or desertification
Bamboo as a crop is a versatile part of agriculture. Whether it is grown to be a tool utilized in the growth of other crops, or the crop itself, bamboo offers many alternative to non-renewable hardwood materials.