Africa shows keen interest in NE Bamboo

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Guwahati, Jan 16(UNI) Africa may be expected to import huge quantity of bamboo products from Assam.

If interest shown by the African nations in the bamboo products of Assam in the just concluded Annual General Conference of UNIDO is any indication, it can only mean that Assam can make good business out of its bamboo cultivation.

Government officials of the highest grade from countries such as South Africa and Tanzania have been noticed crowding the Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre(CBTC) stall at Vienna, expressing keen interest in cheap alternative of wood.

For countries such as Africa, bamboo products have provided an alternative and that is why they are so much enthusiastic about the CBTC, said the CBTC Director Kamesh Salam.

Most of these countries in fact sought help from CBTC-UNIDO to open a centre in their country both for technology transfer as well as adaptation of skills.

The Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre was a project under Cane and Bamboo Technological Upgradation and Networking Project, which was initiated and funded by UNDP and implemented by UNIDO where Department of Science and Technology(DST) was the Executing Body.

The project was set up in the year 2000 and ended in March 2004.

Thereafter, CBTC registered itself as a Society and is presently under funding from the North Eastern Council.

However, UNIDO in the year 2006 conducted an Independent Evaluation under the Country Service Framework for India whereby CBTC was adjudged as the Best Project of UNIDO in India.

In recognition to CBTCs achievements under the tenure of UNIDO, the South Asia Regional Office of UNIDO invited CBTC to participate in the XIIth Annual General Conference of UNIDO held in Vienna, Austria recently.

The CBTC was provided with a space of 18 sq m to showcase its achievements and display products developed by the Centre. CBTC was focused under the Theme ''Poverty Reduction through Productive Activities'', said Mr Salam who was assisted by Mr Nipon Deka.

''In fact President, Sierra Leone, Deputy President, South Africa, Prime Minister, Guinea, Minister of Industry, Cote d'Ivoire, among others visited and were highly impressed with the achievements of the Centre and Assam's diversified products made out of Bamboo,'' said Mr Salam, and added, ''Ministers from Sierra Leone, Mexico, etc have requested CBTC to replicate such a Centre in their country'' .

In the Conference, CBTC's concept of 'Bamboo Processing Zone' was hailed by all as a major innovation. When put in practice, the initiative will be the first of its kind in the world. CBTC, with UNIDO as an implementing agency, played a key role in promoting natural resources such as cane and bamboo in India and transforming them from ''a poor man's timber'' into ''green gold''.

Since its inception in 2000, the Centre had become the focal point for information, technologies and networking in India's cane and bamboo sector.

The participation of CBTC in the 12th General Conference was a huge success. The visitors were taken aback and were surprised to see these products made out of Bamboo.

UNI MT LL/src1034

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