India to step up efforts to promote bamboo plantations

Efforts like simplifying regulatory regime for private lands will be made to encourage states to take up bamboo plantations, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said Tuesday.

New Delhi: Efforts like simplifying regulatory regime for private lands will be made to encourage states to take up bamboo plantations, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said Tuesday.

She said the Ministry of Environment and Forest has given "in principle" approval to the proposal of India becoming an institutional partner of International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) that will assist the sector in strengthening the contribution to livelihood.

INBAR is an inter governmental organisation and has 39 member countries including India and works to improve the social, economic, and environmental benefits of bamboo and rattan among some of the world’s poorest communities.

"MoEF is pursuing the matter regarding the government of India becoming the institutional partner of IMBAR and this proposal has been approved `in principle` by my ministry. It just needs further guidance from the cabinet," Natarajan said after inaugurating the Asia Regional Workshop on Bamboo and Rattan here.

She said that her ministry after getting the approval expects to work closely with IMBAR and assist the bamboo and rattan sector to strengthen the contribution to livelihood and well being of local communities all over the world.

Natarajan said that her ministry also promotes bamboo plantations through various schemes especially with involvement of people from rural areas.

"We received suggestions from various quarters to consider exemption of bamboo grown on private lands..From the requirement of felling and transit permissions in order to encourage farmers and other interested land owners to take up bamboo plantations in a big way," she said.

She maintained that to ensure the success of this efforts, it was important to provide an enabling environment which includes a simplified regulatory regime so that the interest of the growers is sustained.

"Many states have already exempted bamboo grown on private lands from the regulatory regime and it has yielded good results. We want to pursue it and take this further to encourage the states to allow the growing of bamboo," Natarajan added.

The workshop is being attended by representatives of the INBAR member countries of Asia region which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal , Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The deliberations at the workshop are designed to charter a roadmap for the bamboo and rattan sector for the next decade.

Natarajan said with over a 120 species of bamboo, India has the second largest natural reserve of the species which grows across the country.

"According to state of forest report, forests with bamboo clumps occupy an area of 13.96 million hectares with the total growing stock of 169 million tonnes," she said.

Natarajan said that India has two bamboo missions - the National Bamboo mission (NBM) and National Mission on Bamboo Application (NMBA).

While the NBM was launched as a centrally sponsored scheme under the ministry of agriculture, NMBA was structured as a technology mission and was the initiative of department of science and technology.

"They have multi-disciplinary approach which focus on value addition, commercialisation, disseminating technology, supporting entrepreneurial projects and knowledge and technology network," she added.

She pointed out that bamboo which is an important non-wood forest resource found in forest as well as non forest areas of the country is fast growing, widespread, renewable, versatile and low cost.

Officials said that basic objective of this workshop is to provide an opportunity to exchange and disseminate the scientific, technical and human resource potential for inclusive development based on bamboo and rattan resources in the Asia region.

Suggesting the importance of bamboo as an important tool for poverty alleviation and green growth, INBAR Director General Coosje Hoogendoorn stressed the importance of South-South cooperation and collaboration in this sector.

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