To give fillip to bamboo cultivation and production in the country, the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Shri Narendra Singh Tomar yesterday inaugurated by virtual mode 22 bamboo clusters in 9 States of Gujarat, MP, Maharashtra, Odisha, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Karnataka.
It may be recalled here that keeping in consideration the importance of bamboo, the Indian Forest Act 1927 was amended in the year 2017 to remove bamboo for the category of trees, as a result now anyone can undertake cultivation and business in bamboo and its products. Import policy has also been modified to ensure progress of the bamboo industry in the country. Shri Tomar said that the use of bamboo has been an ancient tradition in India and it is now being supported with modern technology. Youth are also being given training for bamboo industry.
The restructured National Bamboo Mission was launched in 2018-19 for holistic development of the complete value chain of the sector. The Mission is being implemented in a hub (industry) and spoke model, with the main goal of connecting farmers to markets so as to enable farmer producers to get a ready market for the bamboo grown and to increase supply of appropriate raw material to domestic industry. The Mission was launched as a natural corollary of the historic amendment of the Indian Forest Act in 2017, removing bamboo from the definition of trees, hence bamboo grown outside forests no longer need felling and transit permissions.
The bamboo ecosystem has been energized with 23 States being assisted, including all the 8 States of North East. 10 most important species which are required by industry have been identified and quality planting material is being made available to farmers for plantations. Assam has already engaged FPOs for raising plantations. New FPOs will also be formed under the recently approved scheme of DACFW for formation of 10,000 FPOs in 5 years. Further primary processing, CFCs are being set up close to the plantations which will enable cost of transportation of whole bamboo to be reduced, increase local entrepreneurship and move to a zero waste approach.
These will be engaged in raising nurseries and plantations and/or product development like furniture, agarbatti, venetian blinds, chopsticks, toothbrush, lifestyle products, jewellery, bottles, yoga mat, charcoal, etc. Together with industrial products, the National Bamboo Mission also endeavors to upgrade skills of traditional bamboo craftsmen as per requirement of contemporary markets with tie up with enterprises and premier institutes so that our cultural heritage is continued. The Sector Skill Councils established under National Skill Development Agency will also impart skills and Recognition of Prior Learning to traditional artisans. This will also encourage the youth to carry forward their family traditions.