Bamboo in India is known by many local names starting from Bamboo in English and Banas in Hindi to Veduru in Telugu and Moongil in Tamil. This shows the wide spread of bamboo in India. With the government of India removing the Bamboo from the ‘Trees’ category and designating it as minor forest produce under India Forest Act, 1972, the bamboo farming has become one of the best plantation crop that can help farmers earn a good profit.
Bamboo belongs to the grass family, Poaceae, and is characterised by its rapid growth and unique features. Some of the unique features that make bamboo an exceptional resource for sustainable farming is:
According to the National Bamboo Mission, bamboo in India is cultivated in an area of approx. 14 million hectares. There are over 1,400 species of bamboo found across the world, with about 136 species in India. Some of India's most cultivated bamboo varieties include Bambusa vulgaris, Bambusa balcooa, and Dendrocalamus asper.
As per the Forest Survey of India, 2017, Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer of Bamboo in the country. The next three bamboo producing states are Maharashtra, Odisha, and Arunachal Pradesh. More than 50% of bamboo production is grown in the Northeast of India.
Bamboo plantation in India can be rewarding, but it requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here's a step-by-step guide to bamboo farming in India:
Choose a suitable site for the bamboo plantation. Bamboo prefers well-drained soil with good water retention capabilities. It can thrive in a wide range of soil types, from sandy to loamy. The tropical and wet climate of India is ideal for bamboo cultivation.
Select the bamboo variety that suits your purpose and climatic conditions. Generally, bamboo production requires a temperature higher than 15 degrees Celsius and a soil with a pH value between 4.5 – 6.0, that is, slightly acidic soil.
Bamboo can be propagated through seeds or by transplanting culms (mature bamboo stems). Planting through culm cuttings is the most common method. Ensure the culms are disease-free and have at least one node (the joint from which leaves and branches grow).
Proper spacing is crucial for bamboo cultivation. The spacing varies depending on the bamboo species and its intended use. Typically, you should space bamboo plants 5-6 feet apart in rows and leave 10-12 feet between rows.
Bamboo requires regular watering, especially during the dry season. Drip irrigation or sprinkler systems are recommended to maintain adequate moisture levels. Besides, flood irrigation is recommended for smaller-sized bamboo plantation. In northeast India, the rainwater irrigation is the main source of water for bamboo cultivation.
Bamboo requires a lot of nitrogen to grow. So, farmers need to apply neem-coated urea, organic fertilisers or well-rotted manure to bamboo plants to promote healthy growth. Fertilise the plants during the growing season, usually from June to September.
Regular pruning is essential to remove dead or diseased culms and maintain a healthy bamboo stand. Pruning also encourages new shoot growth.
While bamboo is relatively pest-resistant, it is essential to monitor pests like bamboo borers and fungal diseases. Prompt action should be taken to control any infestations.
The right time to harvest bamboo depends on its intended use. Young shoots are harvested for consumption, while mature culms are harvested for construction or industrial purposes. Harvesting should be done selectively to ensure a continuous supply.
Explore various market opportunities for bamboo products. Bamboo can be used to make furniture, handicrafts, flooring, paper, and even as a sustainable building material. Tap into the growing demand for eco-friendly products both domestically and internationally.
While bamboo farming in India holds great potential, it also comes with its share of challenges. Here are some common issues and possible solutions:
Many farmers are unaware of the benefits of bamboo farming and the market opportunities it offers.
Solution: Government and non-government organisations should conduct awareness campaigns and training programs to educate farmers about the economic importance of bamboo farming.
Illegal harvesting of bamboo from natural forests is a significant concern, depleting natural resources.
Solution: Promote bamboo farming as a sustainable alternative to illegal harvesting, thereby reducing the pressure on natural bamboo forests.
Accessing markets for bamboo products can be challenging for small-scale farmers.
Solution: Encourage the formation of cooperatives or associations that can collectively market bamboo products and negotiate better prices, resulting in better bamboo farming profit.
More research is needed to improve bamboo cultivation techniques and develop new bamboo-based products.
Solution: Invest in research and development to unlock the full potential of bamboo farming.
The Indian government runs various agriculture schemes to support the agriculture in India. Similarly, recognising the importance of bamboo farming, Indian government has implemented several initiatives to promote bamboo cultivation. These include:
Launched in 2018, the NBM aims to promote the holistic development of the bamboo sector. It provides financial assistance for bamboo cultivation, processing units, and marketing.
The government has established Bamboo Technology Parks (BTPs) to facilitate research, development, and production of bamboo products.
To encourage bamboo-based industries, the government has identified potential bamboo clusters across the country and is providing support for their development.
Bamboo farming in India presents a unique opportunity for sustainable agriculture, economic growth, and environmental conservation. With the right knowledge, resources, and government support, bamboo farming can become a thriving sector in India. Farmers can benefit from its rapid growth, versatility, and increasing demand for eco-friendly products.
If you want to learn more about bamboo farming, including bamboo cost in India, its importance, benefits, and different types of bamboo, stay tuned with Tractorkarvan.
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