Bamboo and Wooden Handicrafts
Uttarakhand, the land of temples and abode of Lord Shiva is now all set to pioneer bamboo agroforestry, due to its unique geographical location, stretches of alluvial soil in the Terai belt and unique abundance of water- both, ground and rain.
The recently revised bamboo policy, with its de-classification as a timber (erstwhile) to its correct botanical classification of a”Grass”, offers a window of opportunity for bamboo based enterprise. Government is thus focusing on developing bamboo based industry clusters, in areas endemic to bamboo, where, Uttarakhand fits the bill very well.
The task may seem Herculean, but it is surely possible to create Bamboo Based Clusters of Industry in the state of uttarakhand, and to my mind we will need to focus on the following areas.
- We will first need to set up a pilot unit ( agro-forestry as well as value addition)- may be at GBPUAT– so that farmers get acquainted with bamboo as a crop. Some farmers, who pioneered undertaking bamboo agroforestry earlier, did not have a pleasant experience because of lack of proper markets at that point of time, when bamboo was still a regulated commodity. In light of the de-regulation, and prospects of bamboo industry coming up- we would have to do the confidence building exercise– where GBPUAT and other Universities will need to show the way– both with agriculture/agro-forestry and value-addition. GBPUAT and other Universities, will perhaps need to research bamboo utilization in paper industry, and work on developing linkages between farmers and the paper units ( for example Century in Lal Kuan). Maybe, a buy-back rate could also be fixed to build up confidence of the farmers.
- We will need to develop nurseries of elite plant material to cater to the requirement of extension. The endemic bamboo species, which grow well in Uttarakhand are Dendrocalamus Strictus, B. Balcooa, B. Nutaans, Bambos, Thyrostachys Oliverii, Hamiltonii ( mid altitude) and D. Stocksii. The forest areas have primarily Strictus. For enterprise based cultivation and extension excellent clones have been developed by GBPUAT and farmers must try to procure these, namely, Balcooa, Nutaans, Oliverii and Stocksii for the plains and Hamiltonii for the hills. We will need to set nurseries- preferably vegetative- because survival rate of rhizomes is lot better than cuttings of TC.
- There are pockets of bengali and Bihari emigrants in Uttarakhand, where weaving clusters could be developed. The native art of weaving existed, but died a natural death because of bamboo as a raw material. We will probably need to train them, establish clusters and nurture them, till they can sustain themselves
- Construction industry- Fully solid or thick walled species have a great utilization in the construction industry- may it be the scaffolding, or cheap housing.
- Hand Made Paper could also be made
- Furniture- Industry- requires specialty bamboo- and Uttarakhand could follow suit.
- Energy- I have been following this topic but I gather bamboo based ethanol or bamboo based briquettes are not economical, as compared to other sources of fuel. Hopefully I am wrong !!!!!