A Non-Governmental Organisation, Bright Generation Community Foundation, has begun manufacturing locall-made bicycles using bamboo under the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Project.The project, which is under a commitment project by the Clinton Global Initiative University, has been established under the Export Processing Zone to use bamboo in building frames when making the bicycles.

The Executive Director of the Bright Generation Community Foundation, Bernice Dapaah, said the bicycles are aimed at encouraging the development of eco-friendly products and will be exported to the European and United States markets.

“Businesses are known to produce some of the largest and most significant carbon footprints, so it is only right that steps are made to reverse this trend.

“The project aims at taking advantage of the abundant bamboo raw materials in Ghana to manufacture and assemble high-quality cheaper bamboo bikes in Ghana suitable for the road conditions and that will also be affordable to the poor,” she said.

On completion, a bamboo bicycle produced by the Foundation is estimated to cost about US$100 in the country and between US$200 and US$300 in the export market.

The Foundation has set up production plants in Sowutuom-Accra and Kumasi for making the bamboo bike frames, which began about six months ago.

“At the end of the year, we envisage that about 200 bikes would have been produced from bamboo. However, production is currently being done at the Accra site only and we will move to Kumasi very soon

“Although production has begun at a makeshift structure in Accra, we needed the assistance of funding agencies to be able to increase production to satisfy the local market and the huge export orders,” she said.

Mrs. Dapaah said the Foundation has initiated the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Project to take advantage of the abundant bamboo in the country, which is estimated by KPMG to have a market size of about GH¢11.3 million in Ghana alone, to build cheaper but quality bamboo bicycles that are robust and well-suited to the high terrain and road conditions.

“The business, which has been established under the Export Processing Zone, is geared towards exporting its bamboo bicycle frames to the EU and US market for assemblage with bamboo bikes under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. This will generate needed foreign exchange for the country and create employment opportunities for the youth through its bamboo bikes cooperative scheme that trains the youth to build the bamboo bike frames to meet the export orders that have started coming in,” she added.

By Evans Boah-Mensah