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Need to Harness the Bamboo Wealth
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Vikas Tandon11/9/2018 9:17:27 PM
Jammu and Kashmir state lies in the North West of the country, having total geographical area 222,236 sq.kms and its total population is 1,25,48,926 (2011 census). About 19.95% of the total geographical area is covered under forests. Ladakh region receives very less rainfall and is thus devoid of forests contributing about 0.06% to the state forest area. Around 59% of the geographical area of the state is under permanent snow cover, glaciers and cold desert and thus unable to support trees growth. The national level goal in forestry is to cover at least two thirds of the total area in the hilly regions under forests and trees cover. Jammu and Kashmir regions forests account for 47% of the geographical area while Ladakh region is mostly devoid of tree cover. Jammu and Kashmir adopted its own forest policy to maintain adequate forests in various regions of the state in 2011.There is need to popularize bamboo cultivation particularly in the wastelands as bamboo cultivation has immense potential in the state. Bamboo production is a highly commercial industry and its cultivation reduces the soil erosion. Bamboo has a vast potential for generating income and employment in the state. There is an immense potential in the bamboo production in J&K state. Already some areas of the state such as Kanjali and Chumbian villages in Reasi district of J&K are producing bamboo at commercial level.
Bamboo is an important natural resource for the socio-economic, cultural and ecological development. This plant gifted by nature in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. India is the second richest country in bamboo genetic resources after China. These two countries together have more than half the total bamboo resources in the world. Millions of people depend on it for their livelihood. Bamboo is also called as wonder plant, green gold, emperor of all grasses, wood of the poor etc. It is used by the people in their every-day utilities. It is closely interwoven with the life of the people in several ways. It can be used as a food, fodder, construction material, paper, mats, musical instruments etc. Bamboo has multiple economical, ecological and social values. About 136 species of bamboos are reported in India. Bamboo is grown on about 9.57 million hectares in India which constitutes about 12.8% of the total area under forests. Out of the 22 genera available in India, 19 are indigenous and three exotic. The annual production of bamboo in India is about 4.6 million tonnes. The annual yield of bamboo per hectare varies between 0.2 and 0.4 tonnes depending upon the intensity of stocking and biotic interferences. The economic impact of the agro forestry-based bamboo system may influence general economic development of the country. It is mostly found in the N-E States, Chhattisgarh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Jammu and Kashmir. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the earth. Its growth rate ranges between 30cm to 100cm per day. It generates more oxygen than equivalent stand of the trees. It protects against ultra-violet rays and is an atmospheric and soil purifier. Bamboo grows at a fast rate. A story tells that once a forest officer kept his hat on a fast growing bamboo culm and forgot to take it with himself. The next day, he saw that the hat was beyond his hand's reach in 24 hours.
Bamboo has manifold uses from cradle to coffin. Bamboo has many uses as a substitute for fast depleting wood and as an alternative to more expensive materials. It can be used in paper industry, to make small footbridges, water pumps, irrigation pipes etc. In rural areas it can be used as fodder, in making brooms, food, buckets etc. Nutrient analysis of edible bamboos indicated that it contains 77% to 84% moisture, 4% to 7% protein, 5% carbohydrates, 12-13 mg/100G vitamin C and Na, K, Ca, Mg and P as minerals. Bamboo has the potential for checking soil erosion, fast vegetative growth cover to deformed areas and road embankment stabilization. Bamboo tensile strength is 28000 per square inch versus 23000 for steel. It can be used for making pillars, roofs, ceiling, walls etc. It has been traditionally used to make medicines to treat asthma, cough and fever etc. It is also used to make certain structures in earthquake prone areas, in music and arts.
Planning Commission has set up a National Mission on Bamboo Technology and Trade Development. It has been realized that bamboo is very important in poverty eradication and employment generation. The major objective of National Mission on Bamboo is to implement an action plan for keeping bamboo as a key component in the national scene to generate employment, to protect environment degradation and give a boost to bamboo industry. Through various researches in various countries, it has been observed that alcoholic beverages can be made from bamboo leaves, charcoal can be made from bamboo, laminated bamboo mats can be made for disaster prone areas. Therefore, bamboo has an important role in strengthening rural economy. There is need to increase the area and productivity of bamboo.
Bamboo plays an important role in rural and socioeconomic development of the farmers. Some farmers grow bamboos in and around their farmlands to increase their income. The development of artisan skills for handicrafts and wider utility of bamboo provides more employment opportunities and better income distribution for the rural people. There is a dire need to aware the bamboo growers about the latest information on introduction, phenology, reproductive biology, propagation, exchange of germplasm, conservation status etc. There is also a need for the introduction of other species of bamboo of ethno biological significance. It has been observed that most of the bamboo growers do not possess up-to-date information on ecological and growth parameters, morphological variability's, conservation value, methods for multiplication etc. At regional levels systematic survey, range of distribution, flowering periodicity, ethno biological utilization, phenology, floristic compositions, introduction in production forests and homelands of rural areas need to be studied by concerned organizations located in the region. Many of these organizations lack funds, manpower and expertise to assess resources. Inter-institutional support both at regional and inter-regional levels and interaction may help in developing, improving and managing the bamboo cultivation. There is need to develop networking on conservation of bamboo forests, gardens, arboreta, rural homesteads etc. Bamboo growers should get the institutional support at regional, national and international levels. GIS based information system should be developed for the protected areas. Ethno biological approach should be adopted towards the cultivation, preservation of rare and threatened species of bamboo. There should be strong linkage between the bamboo growers and research workers. Bamboo can play a huge role in the socio-economic and economic upliftment of J&K state. Its cultivation can be promoted by more bamboo plantation, more bamboo processing, access to market, inculcating new technologies etc. to uplift the rural economy of the state.
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