CBTC was established on the basis of the recommendations made by the various Working Groups, an idea took shape and this ultimately resulted in the formulation of the “Cane and Bamboo Technological Upgradation and Networking Project”.
ALL-INDIA SEMINAR ON BAMBOO DEVELOPMENT
New Delhi, 9 – 11 August 1999
Ministry of Environment and Forests, UNIDO, UNDP. FAO & INBAR
This Seminar was the first step of a UN system initiative aimed at supporting the Government of India Bamboo Development Plan, announced by the Prime Minister on World Environment Day, 5 June 1999. It resulted from a visit, in March, Mr. Carlos Magarinos, Director General of UNIDO and was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and UNIDO through a Regular budget project with technical and coordination support from UNDP, FAO and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), based in Beijing, China. The seminar was oriented around six themes: resource development, food processing and products, handicrafts, manufactured or industrial products, construction and energy and “high-tech” considerations in an effort to encompass all the most important development issues for this valuable raw material. The programme is shown as Annex 1, which, although not indicating exactly the actual timing, represents the format of alternating plenary and thematic sessions.
The opening ceremony was attended by many senior officials of the Ministry including representatives of bamboo-producing States, technical institutes and industry who heard introductory remarks from the organizers and supporters as well as from four State Ministers, Mr. D. N. Tiwari, member of the National Planning Commission and Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Environment and Forests. The introductory remarks made by Mr. Robert Hallett on behalf of the Director General of UNIDO comprise Annex 2.
The Forest Ministers from Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland all spoke of the considerable bamboo resources available in their States that were not being managed nor used to their full potential. The Minister from Manipur called for a “Bamboo Development and Marketing Board” and appreciated the thematic approach. The Minister from Mizoram noted that 66% of growing stock was in his State and drew attention to the flowering of its bamboos in 2007 and the immense challenge faced to avoid the famine caused by the rats which would follow. He proposed the establishment of a “Bamboo Research Institute”, a study tour of bamboo processing South East Asian countries and invited a team of experts to visit the Northeast States.
The Minster from Meghalaya called for eco-development for communities for adding value to the untapped resources and said that three District Forest Development Agencies had already been set up. He spoke of the need for seedlings, cooperatives and marketing as well as fiscal support. The Minister from Nagaland underscored the importance of bamboo for his people by saying that “Nagas eat bamboo from root to leaf”. Bamboo was used in virtually every aspect of life but technical and financial support was essential for development despite the relative success of the 7-year rotation due to slash and burn methods.
Dr. Tewari spoke of trade development. and the policy and legal changes needed for the development of all uses and for the “greening of India”, saying that for fuller value added bamboo must appear on the “positive list” for trade.
Mr. Prabhu stressed the need to stop pollution and redefine development, saying that clean air and water were the real fundamental needs of people – over food, shelter and clothing. He referred to his meeting with Mr. Magarinos noting that bamboo development fell into all three of UNIDO’s priorities – environment,. employment and economy. He supported the need for a gender bias as mentioned by Ms. Brenda McSweeney, UNDP Resident Representative & UN Resident Coordinator. Bamboo should not be referred to as “poor man’s timber” owing to the predominant role of women in its processing and use. In fact, the term “Green Gold”, used by Dr. Sastry, INBAR in his presentation on international developments and trends was more apt since there were many uses not related to timber or wood and so this better reflected its huge potential. He announced that all Ministries would support the Bamboo Development Plan and recommended that each should set up a “Bamboo cell” for coordination.
After the opening, working groups were formed to review past efforts, recommend policy changes and define actions. The main (preliminary) recommendations were:
a) Improve statistical and inventory data on bamboo and silvicultural and management practices.
b) Undertake large-scale plantings with investment in nurseries and careful selection of species linked to end-use requirements.
c) Examine the appropriate definition of bamboo as a minor forest product, non-timber forest product or timber and its economic and resource management implications.
d) Consider delegating authority for certification for eco-labelling and transit permits to Panchayats.
e) Identify species for food products, especially shoots, raise plantations and involve local farmers through rural extension centres and model large-scale farming/forestry units.
f) Prepare techno-economic feasibility studies on fresh and processed bamboo shoot production, and on traditional knowledge base for converting to high value-added products from shoots and leaves.
g) Establish prototype demonstration units as processing incubators-cum pilot plants in two areas: Mizoram and Malnad, Karnataka.
h) Complement the ongoing UNDP, KVIC project on handicrafts with additional technical inputs aimed at increasing the supply and quality of finished articles and semi-processed products for further industrial processing under the headings: raw material, processing and treatment, technology and tools, product development and design, training, financial support, marketing, policy issues and networking.
i) Create 10-20 “Common Facility Centres” for collection, pre-processing and marketing of bamboo as well as for training and demonstration and common purchasing benefits.
j) Promote available technologies for bamboo mat based composites, adapt advanced technologies for manufacturing bamboo strip board and laminates for furniture, truck and container flooring, railway coaches and interior paneling and decorative uses; (N.B. Some products will be displayed at World Expo 2000, Hanover, Germany).
k) Develop split bamboo products such as toothpicks, chopsticks, incense sticks, ice cream spoons and other specialty items for export as well as bamboo for packaging and for agri-horticulture accessories.
l) Form a “Furniture Manufacturers Association”, with a bamboo section, catalogue and develop bamboo processing machines and equipment, promote products through architects and designers by Internet, exhibitions and displays.
m) Coordinate with the INBAR programme to develop a National Bamboo Building Code of Practice, produce guidelines for construction with bamboo.
n) Document and re-engineer traditional bamboo house construction, produce appropriate manuals, build demonstration houses; and train in improved methods.
o) Include bamboo in MoEF plantation programmes with the aim of producing fuel and other bamboo products for rural areas.
p) Prepare techno-economic feasibility studies on: conversion of bamboo residues into high energy fuel by briquetting, gasification, flash pyrolysis and identify appropriate technologies; on conversion of bamboo residues into cattle feed; and on production of pharmaceuticals and other high value materials.
Other interesting points made by various participants were:
- “Successful transformation or value addition needs the right combination of plant – design -technology”;
- “Machines drive Industry”- hence the need for studying their domestic production and training in use;
- “All the research has been done – the need is for application and commercialization”
- “Create a legal role for the stewards of the resource – the people”; “Train the up-country people”; “Scale up the potential for this poor man’s timber”;
- “Train the men and provide credit and business advisory services to the women for success in enterprise development”;
- “Technology gaps need to be identified” (with respect to other bamboo-processing countries);
- “Awareness generation is essential for marketing”;
- “E-commerce is taking off fast – can India catch up?”;
- “It is important to respect intellectual property rights regarding traditional processing methods”;
- “Enterprise development is a priority in the Northeast but absorptive capacity must be considered”.
Each thematic group prepared a Section for this report and included recommendations with cost estimates and indications of possible collaborating and funding agencies and institutions.
On the basis of the recommendations made by the various Working Groups, an idea took shape and this ultimately resulted in the formulation of the “Cane and Bamboo Technological Upgradation and Networking Project”.