How to design innovations for the Vietnamese bamboo sector?

Group of the Hanoi workshop, 3-7.07.17, Vietnam

Since April 2017 the Institute of International Forestry and Forest Products (TUD) has actively developed the “CLIENT II – International Partnerships for Sustainable Innovation” Definition Project on optimizing bamboo production systems and value chains in Vietnam. It aims to promote international partnerships in the field of climate, environment, and energy. The Definition Project will prepare a larger 3 years project to be submitted jointly to the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

The focus of CLIENT II is the promotion of demand-oriented R&D cooperation with developing countries. The goal is to jointly develop and implement innovative and sustainable solutions in the fields of raw material efficien

cy and technologies, adaptation to climate change and land management, all related to bamboo. At the same time, it will open up new market potentials for export-oriented, innovative German companies – especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Visiting a small bamboo enterprise in Thanh Hoa province, Vietnam

The institute considers bamboo industry to be an important part of Vietnam National Green Growth Strategy 2011-2020. Vietnam has the 6th largest bamboo producing area worldwide. In a green economy, the bamboo sector contributes to human well-being, through the supply of goods and services, creation of revenue and livelihoods, while promoting forest biodiversity and forest ecosystem services on a sustainable basis within the context of a changing climate. In Vietnam, the income from bamboo can constitute more than 50% of total rural household incomes. The bamboo sector opens up additional opportunities for growth and employment. Besides, the bamboo industry contributes to the mitigation of climate change through both carbon sequestration and substitution of materials based on fossil fuels.

Main project partners are the Vietnam National University of Forestry, Vietnam Academy of Forest Science, Institute of Management and Agricultural Development under the umbrella of Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In addition, the University of Göttingen, Rhein-Waal University of Applied Science and Institute of Natural Materials (TUD), WWF, INBAR and private sector enterprises from both countries are playing important roles in different blocks of the project. E.g., a German producer of bamboo window frames and a Vietnamese producer of bamboo boards are discussing a cooperation.

In July, a workshop in Hanoi brought 42 participants together from R&D, state and private sector from Germany and Vietnam with an excursion to bamboo producers in Thanh Hoa province. Results were summarized for 6 working groups according to building blocks of the project: i) value chains; ii) production systems; iii) industrial technology development; iv) product innovation; v) bamboo environmental services and landscape; vi) policy for the industry.

In August a second smaller project proposal writing workshop took place with a group of scientists and companies representatives at TU Dresden in Tharandt (Germany). Here, details about the concept, partners, methodology and budget of a consecutive large collaborative project were discussed. If successful, the project will offer interesting opportunities for M.Sc. and Ph.D. student research within the above mentioned building blocks.

By Roksolana Petrovska and Gerald Kapp

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