India to take bamboo to large regional, international markets

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New Delhi, Oct 15 (UNI) Noting that bamboo forests are a source of livelihood for 1.5 billion people worldwide, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) today called for promoting use of eco-friendly bamboo for major household and industrial products In view of India having large scale bamboo cultivation and over two million traditional bamboo artisans, the INBAR is starting several projects in the country for promoting industries based on it, Director General of the network Dr Jacob Hoogendoorn told the Sixth Meeting of the INBAR Council here.

Inaugurating the meeting, Minister of State for Forests and Wildlife S Regupathy said the Ministry felt that involvement of large-scale regional and international markets in the bamboo sector was a must to promote its growth.

''Production should not be oriented towards subsistence livelihoods only...It is high time that bamboo and rattan move from categorisation as poor man's timber to the status of excellent renewable material for numerous timber related eco-friendly needs,'' he said.

One of the major advantages of bamboo was that so many products could be made from it, and that too by small and medium scale enterprises, which were labour intensive and could generate large-scale employment, said Mr Regupathy.

Concerned about the fact that rapid changes in the economy of bamboo-growing regions were swiftly altering the way people of those regions live, thereby leading to loss of bamboo-related knowledge, the Minister stressed the need of research initiatives to study and document the vast pool of knowledge before it was lost.

''Sustainable, eco-friendly development is the premise on which the new bamboo culture can serve significantly. Synergy and coordination is needed to evolve a green-design framework,'' he said.

India requested INBAR to focus its future initiatives on the bamboo management with a strategy to stagger and mix varities to check gregarious flowering of bamboo.

Such flowering results in loss of crop and famine as increased population of rodents, after the flowering destroys, the agricultural crops.

Mr Regupathy said the Government has attempted to control the problem through special schemes.

''As a strategy for future, we are proposing mixing of provenances of bamboo to stagger the timing of flowering in bamboo forests. I would request INBAR to take up this particular aspect of bamboo management as its future initiatives,'' he said.

INBAR is an inter-governmental organisation established in 1997.

Its objective is to find and demonstrate innovative ways of using bamboo and rattan to alleviate poverty and protect environment.

UNI NAZ GL VC1550

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