The 14th edition of the World Bamboo Day was held on Monday at Bamboo Complex, Patsoi-I, Imphal West district, organised by South Asia Bamboo Foundation (SABF).
Bamboo Shoot Expert from Japan, Hitoshi Yokota, stressed on the idea and possibilities of marketing bamboo shoots in the global market. He highlighted that Japan imports 550 tonnes of bamboo shoot every day and with the increase of ramen noodles industry across the world (bamboo shoot is an essential recipe used in making ramen) and that Manipur has almost all the favourable local conditions for becoming a global bamboo shoot export hub.
While bamboo is grown naturally and bamboo shoots too obtained from the wild, Yokota asserted that in order to have an economically viable model of bamboo shoot industry “technologies and ‘bamboo farms’ have to be introduced in Manipur”.
The concept bamboo farms mean treating bamboo as a crop wherein bamboo is planted with proper gaps for sunlight to seep in for more bamboo shoot production, he added.
A panel discussion titled “Rebuilding the economy with Bamboo” was also held where Kamesh Salam of SABF who moderated the panel discussion said, “Manipur’s local bamboo production has a lot of wastages due to lack of technological interventions and thus, there is a mismatch in the supply chain and value chain, which is further leading to the decline in local production as bamboo products are now being imported from nearby states”.
Today, Manipur’s bamboo market is flooded with products from Assam and Tripura, he said and stressed on the need for building a “Bamboo Skill Institute” in the state where local artisans can be trained to integrate technological skills with local designs.
Environmentalist, Salam Rajesh highlighted the various positives aspects of bamboo such as its application in mitigation of climate change and carbon sequestration. He added the possibilities of “bamboo based medical tourism” where asthmatic patients can come to bamboo forests for breathing and natural treatments.
Panellists which included RK Nimai (IAS Retd.), Prof E Bijoy (Manipur University), Salam Rajesh (member IUCN CEESP), Rouwaithang Dangsha (chairman, Machi Village), Saddam Hanjabam (Ya’ll) and Bijen Laishram (convenor EIACP, Directorate of Environment) discussed and deliberated about the potential of Bamboo and suggested that perhaps bamboo farming can be the alternative to the widespread Poppy Plantations across the hills.
The programme was attended by school students, local artisans, entrepreneurs and locals. Artisans from Patsoi and Tengnoupal also demonstrated and displayed their bamboo crafts and products. Padmashree Guru Rewben Mashangva also performed a sweet- short musical recital with his flute made from local bamboo.
A spot painting competition was also organised for school students.