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A Versatile Natural Resource with Renewable Energy Potential

Bamboo commonly mistaken for a tree is in fact a grass. Bamboos include some of the fastest growing plants in the world with certain species capable of growing up to 36 inches within a 24-hour period. Bamboo is of notable economic and cultural significance across Asia, being used as a food source (bamboo shoots), in medicinal applications and for building materials. Additionally, its being increasingly used in the manufacturing of fabrics and as an energy source.

From a medicinal standpoint Bamboo is produced into activated charcoal and used in a variety of products for its toxin removal, digestive cleansing and anti-aging properties. It is found in teeth whitening, water filtration and cosmetic products by large global brands such as L’Oreal, Pantene and Biore.

As a building material, Bamboo offers tremendous potential as a sustainable building material that can help reduce large scale logging and combat illegal logging. Its fast growing nature and higher compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete, and a specific tensile strength that rivals steel makes it an ideal building material in flooring, panels, walls and furniture.

Commonly used as an energy source through charcoal production, primarily in Africa, recent research has also indicated Bamboo is an ideal candidate as a biomass feedstock source for large scale power generation. It grows quickly and has been found to produce similar heat to coal whilst providing significantly lower ash content potentially replacing palm shells as a key biomass source, if not coal itself.  


  • Bamboo trade is segmented into a variety of product categories - raw materials, shoots, industrialized products, woven products and furniture/seats.

  • Bamboo global trade in raw material form rose 5% in 2018 to 221,780 MT. Global trade in shoots has been relatively stable over the 5 years at approximately 170,000 MT.

  • The most valuable bamboo categories are industrialized products, which are worth approximately USD 550 milion p.a. followed by woven products at USD 480 millon p.a.

  • Asia has the largest bamboo resources  by far, accounting for 65% of total global planted area. Latin America is second with 28%.

  • China is the largest consumer of bamboo and bamboo based finished products, consuming an estimated USD 36 billion p.a. It is the world's largest exporter of Bamboo raw materials as  well accounting for 67% of total trade.

  • Europe account for up to 50% of world bamboo imports both in terms of raw materials and finished products.

Bamboo Raw Exports by Share


Bamboo Exporters.png

Source: ITC - Trade Map & Agri Developments

Bamboo Raw Imports by Share


Bamboo Importers.png

Source: ITC - Trade Map & Agri Developments


The total world market value (domestic and international) for bamboo and rattan products is estimated to be about USD 60 billion p.a.

The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR)


Bamboo Key Stats

Bamboo Shoot Exports by Country

(1,000 Metric Tons)


Source: ITC - Trade Map & Agri Developments

Bamboo Shoot Imports by Country

(1,000 Metric Tons)

Source: ITC - Trade Map & Agri Developments

Bamboo Shoot Exports.png
Bamboo Shoot Imports.png

Did You Know?

  • Bamboo has greater tensile strength (or resistance to being pulled apart) than steel, and it withstands compression better than concrete.

  • Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet. It can grow up to 3 feet in height in 24 hours.

  • Bamboo releases 30% more oxygen into the atmosphere and absorbs more carbon dioxide compared to other plants.

  • Thomas Edison used a Bamboo filament in the production of world’s first light bulb after testing more than 6,000 materials.

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