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Jamaica to encourage bamboo industry for island

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica hopes to kick-start a local bamboo industry as the tropical plant becomes more common in flooring, furniture and household accessories.

The state minister for industry ministry says plans calls for bamboo factories to be built in four zones on the Caribbean island. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams says Jamaica's resources of bamboo and underdeveloped lands can provide "significant potential for economic advancement through job creation and poverty reduction."

In recent years, fast-growing bamboo has been touted as a top sustainable construction material by green advocates from South America to Africa.

Jamaica already has an estimated 47,000 hectares (116,140 acres) of bamboo. The non-native plant can be seen covering hillsides in many rural spots of the island.

Abrahams' comments were made in a government statement issued Friday.

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