Bamboo’s Viability as a Commercial Crop in Florida

Bamboo’s Viability as a Commercial Crop in Florida

Florida is well known for the diversity of its agricultural offerings and alternative crop opportunities for growers. Bamboo might just be the next alternative crop to be added to Florida’s ever-growing list of commercial crops. There are many reasons to consider growing bamboo in The Sunshine State.

The Many Attractions of Bamboo

While no crop is perfect, bamboo does have many attributes that make it an attractive commercial crop for growers in Florida. They include:

 

Match Florida’s Tropical Climate. Bamboo is native to just about every area with a tropical and temperate climate, from India and Asia to Australia, South and Central America, and Africa. Many bamboo species are well-matched to Florida’s tropical climate. However, like any plant, different species of bamboo will have different needs when it comes to climate and cold hardiness.

 

It’s Low Maintenance. Traditionally, bamboo has a tolerance for poor soil and few input needs beyond fertilizer and irrigation. There are currently no pests, fungi, or diseases in Florida that would require insecticides or fungicide treatments for a bamboo crop.

 

It’s Environmentally Friendly. Bamboo grows at a fast pace, with some species able to grow three feet a day. Because it grows so quickly, bamboo is considered to be a more sustainable crop than even timber. It is also touted as an important crop in carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation.

 

Bamboo is in High Demand. Bamboo farming generated 72 billion dollars in 2019 worldwide. The US is the largest importer of bamboo, and China is the world’s largest exporter. That demand for bamboo in the US could be met by Florida growers.

 

Bamboo can be used for thousands of different products, making it a valuable and in-demand crop. It is an important material in construction as a natural composite material with a high strength-to-weight ratio and a strength rating similar to timber made from a strong softwood or hardwood. Bamboo can be found everywhere in a building, from uses in the structure to flooring, furniture, and more.

 

Bamboo also has many uses in the paper industry, the bio-energy industry, and the textile industry. Surprisingly enough, bamboo also has uses in the food industry, including tea items, food, and food preparation.

 

The high demand for bamboo coupled with its low risk as a crop makes it an attractive up-and-comer in Florida agriculture.