Bamboo is green gold and has unlimited potential for usage and the creation of eco-friendly products.
It should be noted that there is a great demand for unique bamboo products and only linkages between producers, artisans, marketers, and manufacturers need to be strengthened to ensure a sustainable value chain.
Bamboo: Green Gold
Bamboo is used to make toothbrushes, tableware, furniture, biomass pellets, etc.
They are eco-friendly and affordable alternatives to plastic, wood, and even aluminium.
It has excellent structural properties with minimum ecological impacts. It is considered the building material of the future.
It is a durable and high-quality wood substitute.
India’s Bamboo Wealth
India’s bamboo wealth is the second largest in the world with approximately 136 species spread across nearly 14 million hectares.
According to the Forest Survey of India estimates (2021), Madhya Pradesh has the maximum bamboo-bearing area followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.
According to National Bamboo Mission, the annual bamboo production in India is 14.6 million tonnes and annual yield varies from 1 to 3 tonnes per ha.
India exports bamboo and bamboo products to more than 154 countries.
During 2020-21 (April to November), India exported bamboo worth $ 140.47 million and imported $ 107 million.
India is a net importer of bamboo.
The bamboo industry in India is one of the oldest traditional cottage industries in India, Moreover, women work not only as the labour force in the micro and small industries but also are artisans.
National Bamboo Mission:
The Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare is implementing the re-structured National Bamboo Mission (NBM) since 2018-19.
It aims to develop complete value chains of the bamboo sector to link growers with consumers including plantation, collection, processing, marketing, skill development, and brand building.
It is implemented through State Bamboo Missions and Bamboo Technology Support Groups.
The government has also approved externally aided projects for the development of the bamboo sector in North East region.
NBM has helped establish 416 product development and processing units for developing the bamboo value chain.
Around 12119 persons have been trained from 2018-19 to 2022-23.
Moreover, Self-Help Groups (SHGs) of women that are traditionally involved in making bamboo products are given priority in skill enhancement and micro-loans disbursal.
NBM has helped in the bamboo plantation in non-forest farmlands, community lands, arable wastelands, etc.
Bamboo Products to National and Global Markets
Reaching out to people in urban centres, especially outside India is a major challenge for rural people.
The government is promoting the use of gov.in and gem.gov.in portals for marketing and procurement of bamboo products.
More than 20 Bamboo Mandis have been approved for the promotion and e-trading of bamboo.
Several states have also launched dedicated websites for online sales of bamboo products.
Other opportunities in international markets include bamboo charcoal which has a high demand hovering at $1.5-2 billion. It is growing at the rate of 6% per annum.
It can also be used in soil nutrition and as a raw material for Activated Charcoal.