Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar virtually addressed the inaugural session of ‘National Consultation on Opportunities and Challenges for Bamboo in India’ today. The 2-day long Manthan on Bamboo sector is jointly organized by National Bamboo Mission, NITI Aayog and ‘Invest India’.
Addressing the gathering Shri Tomar said that the Union government is putting in due diligence in developing the bamboo sector since it is evident that it can be a key crop to double farmers’ income, increase employment opportunities and improve the livelihood of the people, especially in the North East region.
Shri Tomar also emphasized the formation of FPOs to encourage small and marginal farmers for taking up bamboo plantation as it will ensure hand-holding of the groups for providing correct procedures for raising nurseries and plantations. He urged the states to send proposals for the formation of FPOs for the bamboo sector.
As it is very difficult to identify the species and quality of bamboo at the seedling stage, the Minister appreciated ‘National Bamboo Mission’ for preparing the guidelines for accreditation of nurseries and certification of planting material. “States are now in the process of accrediting nurseries and details are available in the public domain to guide farmers and industry as to where they can get good planting material”, he added.
Talking about the achievements in the bamboo sector the Minister said that commercially important bamboos have been planted in an area of 15000 hectares in the last 3 years. To ensure Quality Planting Materials supply to the farmers, 329 nurseries were set up under the Mission. The National Bamboo Mission has set up 79 bamboo markets. These activities can be seen as pilot projects to establish a model of the bamboo-based local economy. He said that the synergy of interventions of the mission, public sector and private entrepreneurs will accelerate the efforts of the government to improve the status of farmers and the local economy.
Speaking about the importance of the2-day long national consultation, the Minister said a multi-sectoral approach is required to develop the sector in which resources and expertise from various ministries, departments, national institutes, entrepreneurs and farmers have to be dovetailed in a harmonized manner. He directed that with more awareness and extension of the multi faceted uses of bamboo should be done together with engaging with start ups and designers for innovative products. The two days of discussion will be a good opportunity to evaluate the achievements and potential of all the stakeholders for augmenting the scientific, technical and most importantly the commercial approach to set up Indian bamboo products in their rightful place in global markets.
Shri Nitin Gadkari Union Minister for MSME delivered the inaugural address. He opined that to change the picture of the bamboo sector, it was very important to explore big investments and industry. He appreciated the works being done by the National Bamboo Mission and desired that DACFW and M/o MSME should work together for greater progress for bamboo in India. It was important that the clusters being developed under the SFURTI scheme of MSME and under NBM to be connected to local technical colleges for better technology and machine design to flow in. He stressed on the concept of mass production and mass employment potential of bamboo. Speaking on the expanse of products possible he mentioned the growth of the agarbatti sector after supportive policy decisions of the Govt, fibre for blending with other fibres for use in textiles, cheaper bamboo polyhouses to replace the expensive metallic structures. Referring to the recent launch of the bio CNG run tractor, he said that bamboo should be used for production of bio CNG and ethanol. Biochar produced by anaerobic combustion of bamboo has tremendous beneficial effect on soil health by increasing organic carbon. He also stressed on the importance of proper species identification for utilisation by different industries and use of biotechnology and tissue culture for improving productivity . There was tremendous scope of plantation of bamboo on the wastelands of the country.
Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman NITI Aayog stressed on the fact that bamboo
Is the future of the country and that all efforts should be made to increase exports commensurate to the rich natural resource base in the country. The key was innovation in product development. He also referred to the enormous opportunity of receiving carbon credits for the bamboo plantations being carried out.
Shri Kailash Choudhary, MoSAgriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Deptof Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW), Shri Indevar Pandey, Special Secretary DONERand Dr Alka Bhargava Additional Secretary DACFW and various stakeholders also participated in the inaugural session.