MANILA-An environment advocate is promoting the increased use of bamboo in Philippine fashion to help boost the industry's global competitiveness.
Thread from bamboo can be used in creating fabric designs that will help increasingly draw international attention to Philippine fashion, Climate Action and Sustainability Alliance convenor-chairperson Corazon Claudio said Thursday during the Stories for a Better Normal online program that tackled the various uses of bamboo.
"We can produce something different from what other countries are producing," Claudio said.
It might even be possible to combine bamboo thread with abaca and other Philippine fibers to produce truly unique fabrics, she added.
Recalling a trip to China, Claudio said an outlet there sold clothing items that looked like silk but were purely made of bamboo thread.
Expressing optimism about bamboo's fashion prospects, she said the Philippines has 60 to 80 species of this grass, 20 of which are even native ones.
"Now, we're not yet producing bamboo thread in great quantity," she said.
Claudio noted that the country could do so by increasing the production and processing of bamboo for the fashion industry.
In promoting bamboo, she highlighted the need to address various issues hindering the increased production of this grass, such as absentee landowners whose properties are left idle instead of being used for bamboo production.
"I think something has to be done about this. Encourage them to invest if they don't want to come back yet and develop their lands," Claudio said.
She also raised the urgency for facilitating the system of processing and approving applications for the Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA).
The IFMA is a production-sharing contract between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and a qualified applicant who receives from this agency the exclusive right to develop, manage, protect, and utilize a specified area of forestland and forest resources for 25 years, which is renewable for another 25 years, according to the department's Forest Management Bureau.
The country likewise needs more tissue culture laboratories to help produce more bamboo seedlings, Claudio said.
There is also a need to further promote bamboo-related research and development, aside from technology transfer, she added.
She likewise urged a review and possible reduction in the tax burden of small and medium enterprises in the bamboo industry.
The government, she said, must make it easier for investors to come in and make land nationwide productive with bamboo.
"There are a lot of challenging things to do but let's think hard and well, talk together, and act now with bamboo for regenerative, inclusive, climate-smart, and healthy sustainable development in our blue planet," Claudio said. (PNA)