Bhubaneswar, August 6 (LocalWire): Bamboo, which is an inseparable part of rural livelihood in the state, has immense potential to revamp the rural economy, pointed out experts at a workshop here.
“Odisha has 9% of the country’s total bamboo forest cover.
Because of its multifarious utility values, bamboo can be an effective tool for achieving economic and social sustainability in backward rural areas of the state,” District Rural Development Agency project director Sukanta Tripathy said while speaking at the workshop.
Pointing out that the presence of bamboo is visible everywhere in rural households of western districts of the state he stated that bamboo products are entwined with people’s life and culture here.
“Right from agricultural implements to mud-walled house construction, bamboo’s use could be seen everywhere.
One could find artistic dexterity in artisans who are making bamboo products.
There is the need for market linking of their products,” he said.
Tripathy also said that it was heartening to note that a group of civil society groups and bankers in Sambalpur, Balangir, Bargarh, and Sonepur districts have come forward to accord bamboo artisans as micro, small and medium enterprises entrepreneurs and have extended necessary support to them.
He further informed that the state government was trying to involve women Self Help Groups in taking up bamboo-based clusters with appropriate bank linkages.
Bamboo is one of the most important nature’s substitutes for the endangered forest hardwoods and partially energy-intensive steel, plastic and other construction materials and lifestyle products.
“It’s a zero-waste product since all the parts of bamboo can be utilised.
It is quick-growing (maturity cycle of 3-5 years), versatile resource that grows annually at 10-30% compared to 2-5% for trees that can take 40-50 yrs.
It has a tensile strength of 28,000 lb/sq. inch compared to 23,000 lb/sq.
inch for mild steel, making it the world’s best natural engineering materials, and an essential component of earthquake-resistant construction and pre-fabricated housing.
One ton of steel leads to two tons of carbon emission whereas bamboo uses carbon dioxide and releases oxygen,” Aide et Action director-migration and education Umi Daniel said.
There is immense scope for harnessing bamboo by upgrading the existing products and introducing new products liked with markets, he stated, adding that, “It’s a fast-growing species with life cycle varying from three to five years.
Though it grows tall like a tree, it belongs to the grass family. It can withstand drought as well as flood.
It prevents soil erosion due to its widespread root.
It acts as a protective barrier to the river bank from soil erosion and acts as a windbreaker.
It can grow in regions where other crops fail due to drought.”
Daniel further informed that his organisation had taken up a project to promote at least 250 enterprises of which 40% are women-run MSME in four western districts.
“We target to link them with bankers and institutional buyers for their products like baskets, furniture, and decorative items,” he added.
“Artisans have evinced considerable interest and we are hopeful that the artisans from the 250 enterprises backed up bankers’ support and market linkage would script a success story.
If the project yields the desired results, it could enhance the living standard of more than 2,500 families,” he concluded.