The fastest-growing plant is now a $60 billion industry

Published 6:35 AM ET, Thu April 28, 2016
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Bamboo bikes are one of the many products made from the sturdy plant which is seeing an economic boom in Asia and Africa. Here UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Christiana Figueres of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change test bamboo bicycles, made by Evelyn Ohenewaa Gyasi from Ghana. JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images
An online commerce site similar to Etsy, South African company Hello Pretty, said one of its most popular products is from Bamboo Watch Revolutions. It's one of the first companies to develop a watch face made from bamboo. Hello Pretty
Ghana Bamboo Project CEO Ibrahim Djan Nyampong is showing workers how to make bamboo bicycle frames. Artisans in Ghana make bamboo bikes ranging from mountain racers to cargo bikes for customers in Europe and the U.S. AFP/Getty Images
Bamboo is hugely versatile and has wide range of uses all over the world. Pictured, a young girl walks across a makeshift bridge made out of bamboo in the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFP/Getty Images
Asia is by far the biggest grower of bamboo, using it for a variety of things. Here, a chocolate factory is constructed from bamboo on the island of Bali, where the plant is an emblem of sustainable construction. Bali also has a school and luxury villas made from bamboo. AFP/Getty Images
A worker balances on a bamboo scaffolding above the streets in Hong Kong, where bamboo scaffolding remains a common sight many levels above the city streets. PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A Chinese man in a fishing village prepares straw and bamboo mats to be used for creating thick brine which is then turned into salt. China Photos/Getty Images
A worker arranges sheets of handmade bamboo paper on the ground to dry at a papermaking workshop in the village of Tianwan in China. The paper is mainly used for packaging of local farm products. China Photos/Getty
Incense sticks placed for drying in Vietnam, where making and trading incense sticks is an old business linked to the Buddhist culture and tradition. HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images
Bamboo chopsticks being made in a factory in Vietnam where thousands of chopsticks are made daily and exported to Japan. David Greedy/Getty
Myanmar craftsmen dismantle bamboo scaffolding on a section of the Sule Pagoda tower after installing gold covering and decorating it with gemstones. ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty
A woman in Laos carrying handmade bamboo baskets, a typical sight across many parts of Asia. HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty
A Japanese musician plays a traditional Japanese musical instrument called "Sho", which is made up of 17 slender bamboo pipes with reeds gathered together in one bundle. It makes a sound similar to an organ. AFP/Getty Images
Indian weavers make bamboo blinds in the old quarter of New Delhi. PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty
A man cycles a cart loaded with chairs made from bamboo for market in Guangzhou City, China. Bamboo is popular for furniture, and it's grown in the outskirts of the city. MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty
A bicycle with a bamboo frame is displayed in a stand of the "Maker Faire Rome" exhibition, at La Sapienza University in Rome. ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images