Bamboo planting, a new direction to exploit for farmers in Haute-Vienne

“During a trip to Hong Kong, the idea came to me. I have measured the ecological and economic properties of bamboo by observing the scaffolding made of this plant”, explains Samia Riffaud.

Descending from Châteauroux, a businessman, this farmer’s granddaughter, literally and figuratively, always keeps her feet on the ground. Invested for ten years in raising horses and then cattle since 2007, it has developed, in 2012 in the Nouic commune, fields of sunflowers, corn and cereals.

Innovate your business

During a trip to Hong Kong, Samia Riffaud discovered the properties of bamboo, which can be found in the production of cups, fabrics, among other things, and in building materials. Back in Limousin, she decided to diversify her farm and start growing these fast-growing plants. She contacted Onlymoso, an Italian company that specializes in growing giant bamboo.

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Alain Templier, the company’s sales representative, guides and advises her. He has been to Nouic several times to analyze and help him select lots. “We have been working on this project for three years,” says Samia Riffaud.

A culture with ecological virtues

Last week, 3,600 seedlings were planted on two hectares. The advantages and disadvantages have been thoroughly reviewed and researched. Admittedly, to thrive, bamboo phyllostachys edulis needs high temperatures and rainfall in the summer. But massive watering, which is recommended for cereals, is not recommended. Practicing drip for two and a half months each year and at a rate of two hours a day is essential.

Bamboo farming couldn’t be more ecological. It does not require fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. Samia Riffaud’s goal is to convince farmers and communities.

Today in France, 200 hectares are devoted to the exploitation of legumes. “Limousin is the perfect fit for this type of culture,” asserts Samia Riffaud, who will have to wait three years to benefit from a return on investment. But the calls she receives every day encourage her and prove to her that she is right. A cosmetics company contacted her. And now, a construction company is conducting trials to integrate bamboo into concrete production.

green gold

Samia Riffaud, who just started her company Novapousse, had concrete ideas. Ecologically, bamboo forests are more efficient than normal forests. The moso tree grows for a hundred years and can grow up to twenty meters tall. The outputs for this plant are huge. The shoots and rhizomes are used for human or animal food, medicine and cosmetics. The vertices are used in architecture, furniture, textiles, energy, pulp manufacturing.

Samia Riffaud believes in this adventure. With Jérôme Brunet, her farm manager, she came into contact with the farmers of Charente. It intends to create a bamboo pole in Nouic and Charente Limousine.

Samia Riffaud with her operations director, Jérôme Brunet

Jean-Francois Julien

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