Bamboo Unit

For a long time in Uganda, bamboo has not been looked at beyond it being a tall grass plant suitable mainly for house construction and simple furniture making. However UIRI has since 2004 been exploring how to add value to this widely available yet untapped local product.

Determined to tap into Uganda’s bamboo potential, UIRI in collaboration with China Bamboo Research Centre (CBRC) in 2005 embarked on the possibility of manufacturing bamboo toothpicks.

The production line was installed and commissioned on 19th December 2007 and is currently producing high quality toothpicks that will soon be commercialized. Plans are under-way to relocate the bamboo toothpicks production line to Kabale where the raw material is collected from.

Although the processing line is currently producing high quality toothpicks, several other products can be made from it. These include bamboo floor tiles, curtains, mats, baskets, desk organizers, table cloth, lamp shades, handicrafts, match boxes, toothpick dispensers, shawls, hand bags, souvenirs, cups, and trinkets among others. The processing plant has created market for bamboo growers in Kabale, Kisoro, Mbale, Kitgum, Moyo, Nebbi and Rwenzori. 


Once relocated to Kabale, the bamboo production line will result in the following benefits:
  • Establishment of and continuity of an out-grower scheme ensuring continuous bamboo supply to the processing facility.
  • Training farmers on better bamboo plantation management.
  • Training communities on bamboo processing technologies other than the toothpicks technology.
  • Diversification of the bamboo products line.
  • Transferring bamboo technologies to other parts of the country such as Arua, Kitgum and Mbale where bamboo is grown. 


Ongoing projects
  • Trial production of toothpicks from other bamboo species found in Mukono
  • Market testing of processed bamboo toothpicks
  • Replication of bamboo processing equipment
  • Installation of Kabale bamboo processing line 


Planned Activities
  • Commercialization of bamboo toothpicks
  • Technology deployment
  • Technology transfer of bamboo mat and curtain products
  • Training in bamboo processing technologies
  • Research and development on high-end bamboo products such as bamboo vinegar and active charcoal