US wants to install bamboo panels factory in Acre

10 February 2015


An American businessman plans to build a plant to manufacture panels using bamboo fibre in the far western Brazilian state of Acre.

Mark James Neeleman, co founder of the Brazilian domestic airline Azul, aims to improve local forestry through a plantation and forest management project in Acre where bamboo is grown widely.

The five year US$55.3m project will include harvesting bamboo to fuel a novel board mill in Xapuri. A new plant is planned later for the Acre Export Processing Zone.

"We want to install a new business model focused on the management of bamboo in native areas and reforestation in degraded areas using bamboo as a catalyst to encourage 'agroecology'," explained Mr Neeleman. He wants to plant rubber, a├žai palm and other products and would use bamboo as a biofuel.

He aims to harvest bamboo from this May and plant bamboo seedlings in a 1,000ha area of degraded land in the first year. Over five years, 5,000ha should be planted. Initially, 200 will be hired and later the plan will create more than 1,000 jobs, said Mr Neeleman.

Celebrated rubber tapper Chico Mendes was murdered at Xapuri in 1988 by farmers against forest conservation.