Bamboo sector sees downfall due to lethargic approach

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Nov 2017 11:02:02

By Shivanjali Verma,

India does not have even a single Bamboo Research Centre, only Forest Research Centre is doing partly minimum research which is not sufficient

BAMBOO, the Green Gold, also considered as ‘Friend of People’ in China and ‘Brother’ in Vietnam, receives a very step-motherly treatment in India. As bamboo continuously grows after harvest without need of replantation, it is known as Green Gold in many countries. Despite fulfilling the thrust sector of Government by providing ecological, economical and livelihood security, bamboo-based industries are becoming sick due to alleged negligence of authorities.

Recently, major bamboo growers of Central India wrote a letter to the Government to apprise about ground realities which leg behind bamboo production in the country specially Central India. It may be mentioned that till recently, it remained confined to the forests. Now its increasing demands as raw material for industrial and domestic use facilitated its cultivation in farms as well. Madhya Pradesh recently rediscovered potential of bamboo for developing it as a rising industry having potential to change State’s economy.

As a result, the Chief Minister has recently launched an integrated bamboo development programme to develop bamboo sector. Bamboo industry Madhya Pradesh has moderate climate as it comes on the way of both monsoon. But still domestic bamboo industries are facing many challenges and problems since past many years due to value chain, regulatory and legislative barriers to cultivation and harvesting of bamboo procurement and lack of technology. According to Subhash Bhatia, one of the leading bamboo growers in Central India, bamboo products we see in the market today are just tip of an iceberg, it has an excellent potential to redress poverty from the country.

Neither Forest nor Agriculture Department wants to accept bamboo completely. Though in view of vast untapped potential of bamboo, the Government of India has decided to initiate National Bamboo Mission, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme which will be implemented by the Division of Horticulture under the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation in the Ministry of Agriculture, New Delhi. But lack of official will power, resource management and technical improvement are still hindering progress of the fast growing world’s largest grass.

There is a wide gap between demand and supply of bamboo owing to growing on State, national and international level. Those concerned with bamboo production and industry wrote a letter to the Government to apprise about poor condition of bamboo industries in India and its helplessness in front of Chinese bamboo industries. According to the letter, quality bamboo in India is available only in north-east but transportation cost is too high to afford. No research is done for betterment of bamboo. Inspite of several difficulties in harvesting, no agency is finalised for development of bamboo.

India does not have even a single Bamboo Research Centre, only Forest Research Centre is doing partly minimum research which is not sufficient. In contrast, research on bamboo and its products are done on priority in China. Many bamboo agencies and research centres are there doing researches on several hybrid varieties.

In India, there are many lacunaes while working on practical grounds including loans available on high interest, high electricity rates, heavy taxation on Indian industry making it incompetent. In lack of proper skill development training, labours are inefficient to compete Chinese products. Over all there is no incentive for dollar saving industry. All these conditions are just opposite in China where conditions are favourable for growers and entrepreneurs working with bamboo.