World Bamboo Day was celebrated in India on Sunday with great fervor. The day was observed across the globe in Belgium, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Israel, Nicaragua, Philippines, Thailand, the UK and US.
This is an initiative undertaken by the World Bamboo Organization (WBO) during the 8th World Bamboo Congress held in Bangkok in 2009. Subsequently the following World Bamboo Day celebration was held in Kohima, Nagaland in the year 2010. The World Bamboo Organization wants to bring the potential of bamboo to a more elevated exposure – to protect natural resources and the environment, to ensure sustainable utilization, to promote new cultivation of bamboo for new industries, as well as promote traditional uses locally and for community economic development.
Apart from its utility as food and medicine, in minor tools, implements and daily utilities, bamboo is extensively used for handicrafts, furniture and even art. Its application has expanded to boards, ply and shuttering materials for use in buildings and construction. It has also been developed as an energy source in the form of charcoal, activated carbon and even to generate electricity through gasification. Realizing the immense socio-economic potential of bamboo, the Government of India has launched the National Bamboo Mission (NBM) and the National Mission on Bamboo Application (NMBA) for its holistic development, cultivation and for developing the technologies and applications for bamboo based products.
As part of the celebrations, a state level function was held in Imphal. Bamboo Handicrafts Exhibition, Bamboo Food Delicacies Stall of the local preparation, Bamboo Theme Pavilion – displaying various products from abroad, painting competition for school children and a symposium were held on the occasion.
In a related story, a Children’s Park was inaugurated at the North East Zonal Cultural Centre (NEZCC) Complex, Dimapur, Nagaland on 16th Sep.
The park was completed with the technology developed by Nagaland Bamboo Development Agency (NBDA). The playing apparatus inside the park was built out of bamboo in order to develop and promote the innovative use of bamboo and its product as it is environment friendly and is easily and cheaply available.
Since bamboo products can be easily repaired and has long shelf life unlike metal that gets rusted, advisor NBDA, L. Temjen Jamir suggested other government/non-governmental as well as educational institutions to come forward and promote the use of bamboo for the benefit of the public.
North East Zonal Cultural Centre is also planning to promote another play area made of bamboo-based products at Shilpgram, Guwahati soon.
The North East, with about 8% of the geographical area of the country, accounts for 66 per cent of the bamboo resources of the country spread over an area of about 3.10 million hectares and housing over 89 species of bamboo. The raw stock of bamboo in the North East region is conservatively valued at Rs. 5,000 crores. Even with a modest target of two-fold value addition to the stock through suitable methodologies, an annual turnover of approximately Rs. 10,000 crores can be generated in the region.
In the context of India’s economy, the market size of Bamboo is expected to touch a figure of Rs. 42,000 crores in the next fifteen to twenty years. This enormous potential for wealth creation in rural areas, if exploited properly, can truly benefit the people of the region and change their day-to-day lives for the better.