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‘Bamboo industry has failed to pick up despite aid’


New Delhi : The bamboo industry in India is still struggling to cope with the challenges despite the massive financial assistance by the central government and the creation of the National Bamboo Mission (NBM) with an outlay of Rs.5.68 billion ($142 million) for promoting bamboo production, a report said here Tuesday.

India, which possesses 30 percent of the world’s bamboo resources, contributes only four percent share of the global bamboo market, said a report prepared by the Food and Agribusiness Strategic Advisory and Research (FASAR).

“This is mainly attributed to the low productivity, which is 0.4 tonnes per hectare, a much lower figure compared to countries like Japan, China and Malaysia which contribute about 80 percent to the world’s bamboo market,” said the FASAR report, presented at a three-day International Bamboo Conference here.

Scientists and experts from 35 countries, and farmers, entrepreneurs, representatives of NGOs and executive agencies from various states are participating in the conference on “Improvement of Bamboo Productivity and Marketing for Sustainable Livelihood”.

Although the government is satisfied with the development in the bamboo industry in the northeast, other states, which too have large reserves, are lagging behind, an agriculture ministry official said.

Ministry officials pointed out that states like Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar had not done much to promote the industry.

Department of agriculture Secreytatry P.K. Mishra said the NBM has been successful in promoting bamboo, especially in the northeast. He, however, refrained from making any comment on other under-performing states.

Emphasising that bamboo production helps environment, director general of the Indian Council for Agriculture Research Mangala Rai told the delegates that bamboo was the fastest growing plant on the planet and some of its species grow as much as four feet a day.

“It releases 35 percent more oxygen than other trees. Bamboo can also lower light intensity and protects against ultraviolet rays,” he remarked.

The speakers at the conference said bamboo was an enduring natural resource and provides income, food, and housing to over 2.2 billion people worldwide.