Asian Foods Program– Background Paper

  • 84 pages

  • Published: 20 Apr 2001

  • Author(s): Centre for international economics ACT, Sydney

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Bamboo is a significant food source in Asia and is also widely used in applications such as papermaking, building and furniture making. There are about 1500 known species of bamboo, divided into around 80 different families (Cusack 1997). Bamboo species are either running (monopodial) or clumping (sympodial). Cusack describes the clumping species as non-invasive and in contrast to the running varieties that often cause property damage in residential areas if poorly managed.
There is approximately 14 million hectares of bamboo growing around the world with around 20 million tonnes harvested each year (Cusack 1997). Approximately 2 million tonnes of shoots are harvested for consumption. In Australia, the bamboo industry is in early stages of development. There are few statistics on the area of commercial plantings but the area is reckoned to be in the order of 150 to 200 hectares, with a majority of this on two or three farms. The remainder is spread across a number of smaller holdings of about 0.5 to 1.0 hectare in size. It is understood that a 1000 hectare plantation is under development in north Queensland with a focus on the export market.