Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu has launched an independent forum with an aim to give boost to the bamboo sector by promoting entrepreneurship, research, and trade of high quality bamboo products in a sustainable manner.
The India Bamboo Forum-- conceived and conceptualised by Prabhu -- will undertake the work by bringing together a voluntary group of 55 committed leaders in the bamboo sector.
"The forum will work actively with the stakeholders from institutions from within India and abroad, policy makers and industry and identify specific thematic areas that require resolution at the state and national ecosystems," Prabhu told PTI.
Prabhu added that the growth of bamboo sector will help prevent deforestation, create jobs, and help increase farmers' income.
To begin with, five areas of national importance have been identified -- development of a dedicated knowledge dissemination portal, improving technical standards, skill development, providing mentorship to bamboo startups and creation of a platform for facilitating buyer-seller linkages of bamboo products, he said.
Prabhu said the forum will work together to remove the bottlenecks in the sector and ensure an assured and well-oiled supply chain.
It will ensure availability of high-quality bamboo products not only by use of latest technology and superior processes but also by promoting growth of high-quality bamboo species. The forum will also ensure availability of growing material in partnership with agricultural universities.
He also underlined the importance of integrating the industry with the global economy and linking the forum to international bamboo networks.
About 2.5 billion people in the world depend economically on bamboo, and international trade in bamboo is estimated at about USD 4.5 million per year.
In India, bamboo has potential to benefit more than 4 million small farmers and 1.5 million micro entrepreneurs in the next five years, he added.
Founding members of the forum include IIT - New Delhi Professor Supratic Gupta; Director-Tripura Bamboo and Cane Development Center (TRIBAC) Selim Reza; Associate Senior Faculty- National Institute of Design - Ahmedabad Pravin Singh Solanki; Maharashtra Bamboo Promotion Foundation CEO V Giriraj; Konkan Bamboo and Cane Development Center (KONBAC) Director Sanjeev Karpe.
Karpe said although the government has taken several steps for promoting growth of the sector, more needs to be done in that direction.
He said it is an independent forum that would work on areas including standards, information dissemination, supporting small entrepreneurs and skilling people.
"Situation on the ground is not satisfactory for the sector. Worldwide people are working in this sector as it is the most sustainable raw material for manufacturing," he added.
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