National Bamboo Mission: Government’s Great Initiative

City Environment

India fairly has around five percent of bamboo market in the world

The National Bamboo Mission (NBM), approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), launched on April 25, 2018, focused on promoting the conservation of bamboo and increasing its growth by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy to increase its cultivation in India. It also aims at strengthening the marketing of bamboo products, mainly handicrafts.

NBM comes under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Government of India and focuses on increasing the under-developed bamboo industry in India by improving post-harvest management and bringing up innovative primary processing units near the source of production, primary treatment, plus seasoning plants preservation technologies and market infrastructure

Section 2(7) of the Indian Forest Act, 1927 was amended to omit bamboo outside the forest from the definition of tree.  Several states and union territories exempted bamboo from felling-transit rules. The Indian Government is spending a lot every year by releasing funds under the category of three components – NBM, Rainfed Area Development and Sub-Mission on Agro forestry

Gayatry Sa, member of the Eco-Vizag and Environmental Development says “ It is a great initiative taken by Indian Government as such missions are extremely important –  it  focuses on commercial, economic and judicial use of bamboo in several states and this would include the  genetic storage of the bamboo shoot”

She remarked “Bamboo is an important plant because it grows with fewer nutrients that fix the soil so that other plants might grow. Government surely comes up with such missions but when it comes to executing them, there lies many loopholes; specifically it focuses on the trade rather than production. India produces five percent of the bamboo market in the world”.

North-Eastern parts of India like Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, have a lot of scope for the production of bamboo. Government can help farmers grow bamboo with other crops rather than relying and believing in monoculture, so that it would give them side investment and improve the market of bamboo in India.

Y.K Singh Chauhan, the General Secretary of the Indian Forest Association in Jharkhand mentioned that “Previously, bamboo used to come as timber, but is now considered a grass. Hence, it is out of the transit permit purview.”

“It is quite beneficial for farmers now because they get no restriction in transport or any other issue related to growing bamboo. Another thing is that bamboo trees mature in four years so it benefits the farmers in receiving early and continuous returns”.

According to Shri Chalapathi Rao, The State Mission director and Nodal Officer for the NBM,”I submitted this plan which was accepted and was initially started on a limited scale. The diversion towards Bamboo was made as it has multi-purpose and has great opportunities of growth under agro-forestry. The scheme tries to support the conservation of bamboos. Karnataka holds workshops under the NBM regularly in collaboration with Institute of Wood Science and technology.”