China currently produces 80 percent of the world's bamboo and consumes 60 percent of it, according to PI. Smaller and poorer bamboo-producing countries such as Vietnam are in a prime position to "out-compete China" by supplying industries with raw materials at lower prices, De Mestre said.
Boosters call it "vegetal steel," with clear environmental appeal. Lighter than steel but five times stronger than concrete, bamboo is native to every continent except Europe and Antarctica.
The global bamboo industry is currently worth around $11 billion per year and is tipped to reach $15-$20 billion per year by 2018, according to PI. The market for industrial bamboo products is currently only valued at around $500 million a year, but PI estimates it could grow to $4 -5 billion in the next 10 years
Antibacterial: The natural kun substance in bamboo makes it inherently resistant to pests and pathogens. The same qualities can be found in the spun yarn from the bamboo plant, which means no harm for your skin.
"The rate at which it grows is amazing," says Raul de Villafranca, consultant for Agromod, a Mexican company that is planting 9,880 acres in the southern state of Chiapas. "In one year, you can harvest stalks 15 meters (50 feet) tall, and unlike hardwood, it never needs to be replanted."
Deodorizing: Bamboo’s antibacterial properties keep it from absorbing and retaining odors. Also, it helps keep you dry in the first place because of the yarn’s micro gaps that allow air to flow freely.
“It also has the potential to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, the biggest greenhouse gas, and provide some of the world’s poorest people with cash.
Bamboo may provide a solution to a very serious problem: deforestation. In sub-Saharan Africa, 70 percent of the people cook their meals over wood fires. The very poorest cut down trees for cooking fuel; those slightly less poor buy charcoal made from wood in those same forests.
it thrives without fertilizers or pesticides, requires little water, grows on slopes too inhospitable for other crops, and has a 10 times higher yield per acre than cotton.
But bamboo is a grass, not a tree. Under the right conditions, it can grow a full meter a day — you can literally watch it grow. It is also fast maturing. A new bamboo plant is mature enough to harvest after three to six years, depending on the species. Most important, bamboo is renewable. Unlike hardwood trees, bamboo regrows after harvesting, just as grass regrows after cutting.