European Union to Promote Bamboo MSMEs for sustainable development in India

“Bamboo is the best solution to environment degradation and sustainable development in India”

Bhubaneswar: Bamboo is one of the most important nature’s substitutes for the endangered forest hardwoods and partially energy-intensive steel, plastic and other construction materials and lifestyle products. It is also a Zero waste potential since all the parts can be utilized. Besides, bamboo has many other merits.

At this backdrop a project ‘Promote bamboo MSME cluster for sustainable development’ has been designed with SDG mandate of ‘Sustainable consumption & sustainable production’ to be implemented in 9 potential states of India including Odisha by the Foundation for MSME Cluster(FMC),  Small industries development bank (SIDBI), Commonwealth Educational Media for Asia (CEMCA) & Copenhagen Business School (CBS) under the European Union Switch Asia program.  Aide et Action is facilitating the program in 4 states of India including Odisha.

Usefulness of Bamboo

Bamboo is a quick-growing (maturity cycle of 3-5 years) and a versatile resource that grows annually at 10-30% compared to 2-5% for trees that can take 40-50 yrs. It has a tensile strength of 28,000 lb/sq. inch compared to 23,000 lb/sq. inch for mild steel, making it the world’s best natural engineering materials, and an essential component of earthquake-resistant construction and pre-fabricated housing. 1 tonne of steel leads to 2 tonnes of carbon emission whereas bamboo uses carbon-di-oxide and releases oxygen. Bamboo processing and production consume less energy (30 MJ/m3 per N/mm2) compared to concrete (240), steel (500) and timber (80). Greater usage of bamboo leads to increased production of diversified sustainable products thus mitigating climate change.

Due to fast growth, it absorbs more CO2(62 MT/year/ha) and releases 35% more oxygen than an equivalent strand of hardwood tree. It helps prevent soil erosion due to its widespread root system and large canopy. It sustains river banks and serves as a good windbreak. It helps decrease water pollution as it devours a high amount of nitrogen. It can grow in arid regions where other crops fail due to droughts.

Bamboo is part of the human race since ancient and at present, it has been considered as a sustainable resource for livelihood of more than 5 million people (50% are women) in 18 tribal-dominated states of India where availability of different species of Bamboo is very high. But the bamboo processing, product manufacturing, and market application segment is not harnessed to that extent yet, which is only reason India’s share in total bamboo export is quite negligible despite we are the 2nd  bamboo rich country across the globe. There is a huge scope for replacement of less sustainable product which has a negative impact on the environment like Plastic, polythene, still, timber and cement. These unsustainable materials can be replaced and the green job can be created through effective utilisation of Bamboo as a resource, upgrading existing products, introducing new products through appropriate market linkage.

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Despite the available huge bamboo resources 125 variety of species and largest in the bamboo area (11.4 Million Hectors), domestic production in India is estimated to be USD 4.5Billion; While China’s domestic market is worth USD 30 Billion with only 6 million hectors of area.

Odisha scenario

Odisha has 9% of the Country’s total bamboo forest cover and 7% of the total growing stock of Bamboo. Under the intervention in Odisha, Sambalpur has been selected at the Hub of the project and Balangir, Bargarh and Sonepur are potential Spoke districts considering to availability of Bamboo and traditional artisan. The project needs support from different stakeholders and departments to create enterprising opportunities for sustainable development.

Event

A Bankers orientation programme was organised at Pantha Nivas, Sambalpur on the 2nd August 2019 in this regard. The workshop was inaugurated by Mr. Sukanta Tripathy, OAS, PD, DRDA, Sambalpur as chief guest who expressed that Odisha government is committed to providing its support for bamboo artisans. Women SHGs will be promoted to take up bamboo-based clusters with appropriate bank linkages.

Opinions

On his welcome address Mr. Umi Daniel, Director-Migration & Education, Aide et Action, South Asia shared that the project in Odisha intends to Promote at least 250 enterprises of which 40% are women-owned MSME and creating 1000 green jobs of which 50% are women. At least 10 new institutional buyers will be linked to source 5 high potential bamboo products from the targeted cluster and nearby area through at least 10 successful business start-ups. Sustain and upscale local initiatives through community-led multi-stakeholder development models like producer networks, Common Facility Centre, equipment suppliers, and business development service providers. Promote sustainable linkages between financial institutions and local enterprises. Strengthen policy dialogue and dissemination of proven development models relevant to the bamboo sector.

As of now, 3000 existing bamboo artisans in these 4 districts have been identified out of which 150 potential entrepreneurs have been selected in the first phase among artisan, aggregators, cultivators and furniture units. Baseline survey has been conducted for 117 potential entrepreneurs and 101 business plan & loan applications have been prepared and submitted under different state & central govt. sponsored scheme for financial assistance. Further 05 potential entrepreneurs have been identified for the start-up to promote high potential bamboo base industries across the state.

Ms. Sangeeta Agasty, General Manager of Foundation for MSME Cluster highlighted the backdrop and perspective of the program under EU Switch Asia intervention. She also highlighted on the drawback as well as opportunities of Bamboo based enterprises in the contemporary situation of global consensus on the environment. The growing market nationally and internationally can create huge employment and sustainable livelihood of the poor. She said that this project is being implemented in 9 states across India as a pilot which will be a model and influence to policy for larger replication.

Md. Adil Ahsan, Manager of SIDBI expressed that all players in the supply chain should join hands with each other to promote Bamboo cluster in the state. The project will focus on creating a sustainable model of bamboo-based MSME clusters through capacity building of all stakeholders, setting up of incubation center and convergence mechanism. SIDBI is creating an online portal where one intending entrepreneur can apply for a loan from the desired bank.

The officials from Handicraft, ORMAS, OLM, Forest shared various government schemes which can be leveraged for bamboo-based entrepreneurs and possible collaborations.

Representatives from various private and public sector banks expressed their willingness to finance bamboo projects with good business plans.

Artisans also shared their present bamboo work and aspiration for doing it on a large scale. Finally, a  plan of action prepared for identification of more potential entrepreneurs, skilling of market-driven project, financial assistance, and linkage with the market.

Actions

District administration of Sambalpur through its DSMS unit declared to set up an incubation center and with technical support of Foundation for MSME cluster. Forest dept. assured to collaborate in the farming of bamboo in private land under forest farming program. Bankers and govt. industrial dev. the unit  will take care of hassle free financial linkages with subsidy and Livelihood mission and DSMS will be collaborating in the marketing of products.

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