Never underestimate the versatility of bamboo and what governments are achieving by cultivating this miracle plant.
India is one country that is exploring the myriad of options this versatile plant offers to those farmers, growers, manufacturers and governments willing to invest time and resources promoting bamboo. Officials see bamboo as a financial windfall as well as a green crop as it can be used to produce everything from bamboo flooring to bamboo sheets and bamboo clothes.
Dr Bharathi, an advisor to Gujarat Bamboo Mission, said, “It is a no-death plant. The bamboo is an answer to global warming as it absorbs the highest amount of carbon. Its growth is fast because of the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere and this makes it good for the environment as well.”
The Indian government is pushing bamboo growth and production from the ground up. The National Bamboo Mission is providing financial assistance for bamboo plantation, and the State Government‘s job is to encourage farmers to take up bamboo cultivation on a commercial basis. Bamboo plantation, over an area of about 2,400 hectare in the private sector and 2,165 hectare of forestland, was completed with support from the National Bamboo Mission, said State Mission Director KR Singh.
The bamboo farming project in Kheda district village was carried out under the guidance of Dr. N. Bharathi, who is advisor to the Central and state governments on bamboo. The high placed officials have shown a willingness to seek expertise from people regardless of their station.
One such person is a poor farmer from a tiny Indian village. Most bureaucrats would overlook such a man, but Taiyeb Mohammed Zamindar, an 80-year-old farmer of the village, has become an advisor to many other farmers.
All this has happened because of the bamboo plants that Zamindar had planted 15 months ago on 25 acres of land. Usually, bamboo grows in forests, but Zamindar has succeeded in achieving this feat in an area where major crops are wheat and paddy. What Zamindar knows is being past around to other small farmers.
Mobilizing the promotion of bamboo from planting to production, the National Mission on Bamboo Application (NMBA), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, is providing 100% financial assistance through soft loans for machineries and tools for value addition of bamboo. Director of NMBA Raju Sharma said the mission is encouraging bamboo entrepreneurs to submit realistic and need-based proposals for soft loans to set up bamboo-based industries.
Structured as a technology mission, NMBA is providing bamboo process technology for increasing range of products and applications suited for regional conditions. The mission has developed a range of low cost tools and processing machineries to reduce drudgery, improve productivity and minimize wastage, Sharma said. Apart from providing technical know-how, the other objective of the mission is to help generate employment by expanding bamboo trade through value addition.