Myanmar’s vast bamboo forests have great potential to produce a sustainable crop that could be sold worldwide, according to a group of environmentalists.The country has the third-largest reserve of bamboo forests in the world, and domestically it is an important raw material. Bamboo is used in everyday life for construction and housing, as well as for mats, hats, toys, tools, and food.

With a little technical help, Myanmar’s bamboo is good enough to be the country’s next major export. However, Myanmar’s bamboo forests have been mostly uncared for and poorly protected. Officials collect taxes from the private sector for cutting the shoots down and have limited conservation efforts. Training and teaching of advanced growing and production techniques, to bamboo growers and farmers in Myanmar, would help to cultivate sustainable bamboo plantations. Sustainable management of the forests is key to producing high-quality bamboo products and could be the gateway for a huge export opportunity. Myanmar currently exports finished bamboo products to other countries in the region, but not on a large-scale.