Govt urged to lift ban on bamboo procurement

Institute of Wood Science & Technology (IWST), agarbhatti manufacturers and bamboo growers in State, have urged the government to lift the ban on procurement of bamboo from forests. 

The Forest department has imposed the ban to protect forest areas. Unlike in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, Karnataka has not deregularised harvesting and commercialisation of bamboo. As a result, growers are finding it difficult to cultivate the crop outside forest areas like Kodagu or Chikkamagaluru. 

Further, growers have to seek clearances for transportation, as also produce documents showing land ownership details, according to IWST official, leading to crunch on bamboo’s availability.

With north eastern states, from where agarbatti (incense stick) manufacturers used to procure bamboo, stopping supply, they have had to import it from South East Asian Nations like China and Vietnam.

With imports turning dear, leading to rise in manufacturing costs, agarbhatti manufacturers have had to look for local options. Bamboo Society of India (BSI) officials, have, however, assured that with the harvesting of bamboo having begun, things are expected to turn for the better. 

Efforts are also on to seek permission to grow Burma Bamboo in India. Chief Conservator of Forests (National Forestry Action Plan) and Bamboo Mission Shekhar, countered saying, agarabatti manufacturers largely depended on machine-made sticks and not hand-made.

The reason why bamboo was being imported was, they were not finding the right wood here. We have now understood their requirement and are encouraging farmers to grow bamboo outside the forest areas. So far there are over 100 farmers growing native bamboo species in Belagavi.

Not many are coming forward as the gestation period for bamboo is four years and only after this can they reap benefits. Farmers need to understand this. We are also encouraging them by offering an incentive of Rs 3,000 per hectare and they should have minimum 400 plants per hectare.

Some farmers are already reaping profits growing bamboo and in some time the demand of incense stick manufacturers will also be met as training to farmers in this regard will be provided. 

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