‘Kawayan tinik’ (Bambusa blumeana) is an important bamboo resource for the Philippine rural population. Aside from being a premium species for edible shoot production, it also provides materials for construction, furniture, handicraft, and other novelty items.

With its distinct characteristics and wide utility, ‘kawayan tinik’ has become an indispensable raw material for high-value furniture and handicrafts.

Experts estimate the demand for poles would increase to 3.5 million for furniture making and 570,000 for handicrafts. This makes bamboo shoot and pole production a good investment option for small and medium entrepreneurs.

A 1-hectare (ha), 275-seedling bamboo plantation, is a profitable investment requiring a relatively small initial capital. Income is realized on the first year of harvest (Year 5) while the total initial capital is fully recovered the following year.

The package of technology (PoT) for ‘kawayan tinik’ pole and shoot production was developed and tested in strategic pilot plantation sites in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The cost and yield estimates of the PoT were based on plantations developed in openland/grassland areas using culm cutting propagules.

Package of technology 

Pole Production
Clump/Plantation age for initial commercial harvest – 5 years old
Pole maturity for harvest – 3 years old
Pole/culm height – 15-25 cm
Pole/culm basal diameter – 6-10 cm
Average yield/clump – 3-5 poles or culms
Average yield/ha – 1,050 poles

Shoot Production
Shoot basal diameter – 6-10 cm
Shoot height – 8-10 cm
Shoot fresh weight – 1 kilo/shoot
Average yield/clump – 630-1,050 shoots

Soil type requirement

• Attains optimum growth in well drained soil, sandy loam, and clay loam soil.
• Most suitable pH of 5.0-6.0, while non-suitable for saline soils, and water-logged areas.

Climate

• Optimum temperature ranges from 8.8 degrees C to 36 degrees C.
• Rainfall: 150-200 mm/month; Optimum growth requires more than 200 mm/month.

Vegetative production

Selection and Collection
Select healthy mother clump from which 1-2 year-old culms shall be taken as sources of cutting for propagation. Cut the 1-2 year-old culm into either 2-node or 1-node culm cutting. Choose nodes with well-developed buds.

Potting and Rooting
The culm cuttings can be planted directly in 18 cm x 18 cm x 28 cm polyethylene bags with ordinary clay-loam soil and about 10% organic fertilizer (chicken dung). An alternative is to set the cuttings in a misting bed. The misting bed is a rooting bed enclosed with a single line of hollow blocks and filled with river sand. Use fine river sand as the rooting medium.

Care and maintenance

• Water the potted cuttings daily at least twice a day (in the morning and in the afternoon).
• Place potted cuttings under partial shade.
• Water the plants regularly.
• After 2 months, transfer the plants into the open to harden the newly developed shoots by exposing them under the sun.
• The plants should be ready for planting after 6 months.

Plantation establishment

Selection of Planting Site
Select suitable plantation site in grassland/openlands with well-drained soil. Flat land with well-drained soil is preferable. Hillside with suitable slopes and exposure may be considered.

Preparation of Planting Site
Clear weeds. Dig planting holes of 60 cm x 60 cm. The top soil is used as bed soil to the propagules when planted.

Planting Operations
To ensure high survival, outplanting should be done at the onset of the rainy season. Employ a 7 m x 7 m spacing. Fertilize at planting time. Each propagule is fertilized at 200-300 g of complete fertilizer.

Plantation Maintenance
The sustainable development of planted propagules required the following activities: (1) replacement of dead propagules; (2) weed control; (3) watering; (4) fertilization and thinning; and (5) protection.

Harvesting of Shoots
Twenty-five percent of the shoots during the first half of the shooting period may be harvested. Meanwhile, the 75% are allowed to grow into poles. All shoots that occur during the last half of the shooting period may be harvested as their survival for poles are very low.

Harvesting of Poles
For clump yield sustainability, harvesting of poles requires the application of the Culm Selection System (CSS). During harvest time (dry season), only culms of 3-year old and above should be harvested. The CSS application, therefore requires marking of emerging shoots during shooting period to monitor/determine culm age for harvesting.

Clump Management
Clump productivity should be regularly improved or maintained to hasten sustained shoot/culm yields. This could be attained through the application of regular tending operations which includes cleaning, thinning, mounding, mulching, and fertilization.

This appeared without a byline in Agriculture Monthly’s August 2018 issue.