Discovering solutions to satisfy consumer demand is a surefire way for entrepreneurs to thrive in business. When Bo Lon first experimented with the domesticised bamboo variety in 2019, she recognised an unfulfilled demand for fresh bamboo shoots in the domestic market.
Lon's business initiative has brought her an income-generating option to grow her business and led her on the path of entrepreneurship.
Give us a brief overview of your business.
I currently own a 4.5 hectare bamboo plantation, which produces 300 to 700 kilogrammes of sweet bamboo shoots each month to support the domestic market. My customers consist mainly of vegetable traders from Kampot and Takeo provinces, with regular orders on a weekly basis.
What inspired you to start it?
Even today, bamboo shoots sold in the domestic market are largely collected from the local forest, with their peak falling in the rainy season. Yet yields fall significantly during the dry season due to inadequate rainfall – leading to supply shortages for the majority of the year.
With this in mind, in 2019 I explored the idea of experimenting with the domesticised bamboo variety with 400 sweet bamboo propagules purchased from Thailand. The small investment turned profitable in a short time span.
Only eight months after growing, the plants produced their first shoots, providing me with a daily source of income to grow my business. Presently, I own a 4.5 hectare bamboo plantation with over 2,000 bamboo clumps.
Would you recommend smallholder farmers to invest in sweet bamboo farming?
Definitely! Due to an increased consciousness for safe and healthy foods, the prospect of domesticised bamboo shoots is growing considerably. On top of that, young shoots of this variety are highly sought after due to their crisp texture, delicate flavour and lower amounts of bitter compounds. The demand is certainly huge.
When it comes to cultivation, bamboo is one of the easiest crops to grow as it requires minimal tending. The plant adapts well to the local environment, can be grown on any soil and demands only a small initial investment.
The best part about the investment is its immediate profit. The sweet bamboo variety takes as little as eight months to mature and produce its first shoots, which can be sold up to 6,000 riel in the dry season and 3,000 riel per kilogramme in the rainy season.
Sweet bamboo shoots can be harvested all year round, and with adequate water supply and fertilisation, farmers can expect new shoots from the same clump as early as seven days after harvest. Smallholder farmers should look into sweet bamboo shoot farming for a stable income.