Bid to up bamboo plantation - Tripura farmers get machines on use-and-return basis

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By SMITA BHATTACHARYYA
  • Published 6.07.13
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Jorhat, July 5: In a bid to encourage farmers to take to planting bamboos on a large scale and add value to their finished products, the Centre for Forest-based Livelihood and Extension (CFLE) at Gandhigram in Agartala has begun issuing bamboo treatment machines on a-use-and-return basis.

Tripura is facing a scarcity of bamboo because of large-scale flowering and resultant dying of the plants, especially the local multi species, and farmers preferring to take up rubber plantation. The centre has taken up a participatory programme, eco-restoration of resources for forest-based livelihood security in village clusters of Tripura.

Pawan Kaushik, regional director, CFLE, said bamboos treated with a chemical formulation in machines have an extended life of at least five years.

“A bamboo which is not treated will rot or become infested by termites or other insects in a year, but the treated bamboo will be free of pests for five years, thus adding to the life of furniture, fences or housing material made of bamboo,” Kaushik said.

“Those who have seen the demonstration of the machine are all demanding it so that they can use it. If used extensively, this will ease the pressure on cutting bamboo at frequent intervals,” Kaushik added.

He said the Indian Council of Forest, Research and Education in Dehradun, under which the centre operates, patented the bamboo treatment machine. The machine was further modified to be able to treat six bamboos in one batch instead of three.

The centre will give eight such machines to be managed by a self-help group, a non-government organisation or any other social group after signing an MoU. It will have to be returned in case of a dispute or if it is not used.

“To operationalise the machine, 10kg chemicals will be supplied on a one-time basis. After that, the group will have to purchase the chemical using the funds raised by providing the treatment services. A utilisation certificate (physical and financial) supported by well maintained log books will have to be submitted by the group at the end of every month,” Kaushik said.

The director said the centre would initially provide the technical support. That includes the logbook for details like username, dates, treated quantity, service charges, the chemical for treatment, maintenance and repair as and when required. It will also provide the certification stamp with the date and name of the group and a marker pen, banners, pamphlets and audio-visual support for marketing, signboards and other support for publicity and providing links to the market.

The machine needs to be installed in a secured room, which is at least 10 feet by 20 feet in size, and is equipped with available water.

A bamboo treatment demo centre has recently been set up at Khaschaumuhuni village under the Nalcher cluster. Two more at Borjala and Noa Gaon are on the anvil.