The agriculture department’s directorate of horticulture has decided to help bamboo growers set up a bazaar.
According to the plan, the directorate of horticulture would provide subsidies to the bamboo growers for the market. They can set up the bamboo bazaar individually or in collaboration with other farmers, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the state.
Sources said the aim behind the initiative was to provide a direct market to the bamboo growers, who at present suffer at the hands of middlemen.
At present, bamboo is grown mainly in the Kosi belt comprising Supaul, Purnea, Madhepura and Katihar districts. Apart from the Kosi belt, bamboo is also grown in districts like Darbhanga, Samastipur, Banka, Jamui, East Champaran and West Champaran.
“Bamboo bazaar is a new concept for the state. At present, bamboo bazaar doesn’t exist anywhere in Bihar. However, it is present in states like Jharkhand and Odisha. The directorate of horticulture has decided to help farmers to set up a bamboo bazaar, which would help uplift the socio-economic condition of bamboo growers in the state. We would provide subsidies to the farmers under a Centre-sponsored scheme called National Bamboo Mission,” said Nitesh Kumar Rai, the deputy director (nursery), directorate of horticulture, and also the nodal officer of National Bamboo Mission.
There is a primary bamboo bazaar in Guwahati at Bhorolumukh and one each in Sonitpur district and Bongaigaon district of Assam.
He added that under the scheme, a bamboo bazaar has to be set up at a cost of Rs 27 lakh.
“According to the scheme, the farmer/cluster of farmers/non-government organisation would be provided 25 per cent of the sum as subsidy. The scheme also says that the farmer/cluster of farmers/NGO would require to set up an information centre at the bamboo bazaar and the Centre needs to be equipped with computer with Internet facility so that bamboo sellers are abreast with the actual demand and supply of the bamboo products,” he said.
Gautam Choudhary (62), a farmer from Merha village in Banka, said: “At present there are around thousands of farmers who are growing bamboo in Banka. Because of the involvement of middlemen in the business, we are not able to make much profit.”