Bamboo research centre launched in Karnataka


PTI, Aug 26, 2020, 9:16 PM IST

Bengaluru: Industree Foundation and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday launched a Bamboo Research Centre at Channapatna in Ramanagara district, in partnership with the Karnataka Chapter of the National Bamboo Mission.

This Resource Centre is the first step toward setting up women-owned collectives in the bamboo value chain under Industree Foundations Producer-Owned Women Enterprises (POWER) project, a joint statement said.

POWER project is supported by USAID under the White House Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative launched by Ivanka Trump in 2019, it was stated.

Neelam Chibber, Co-Founder and Managing Trustee, Industree Foundation, a non-profit organisation, said the research centre will create a platform for the “very skilled” bamboo Medhar community to reach global buyers and the growing “conscious” consumer.

The Medhars of Karnataka have been an integral part of the bamboo value chain since 1200 A.D. because of their skill and techniques. Yet, they have not benefited economically or socially due to lack of formal and consistent skilling initiatives, according to the statement.

The Resource Centre will house a Livelihoods and Business Incubator which will help artisans, including Medhars, develop new products well-suited for global and Indian buyers and will showcase their rich and diverse products, the statement said.

The POWER project will over three years create 28 women-owned enterprises that will connect 6,800 women producers to commercial supply chains in natural and biodegradable products based on banana fibre, bamboo and non-timber forest products, the statement said.

“Overall, the project will indirectly impact 54,560 individuals across craft communities”, it added.

Sanjay Mohan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force, Forest Department, Government of Karnataka, was quoted as saying: “Government shall look into the sustained supply of required raw materials for women artisans skilled at this centre. The Department is promoting bamboo plantations outside forest areas and on farmers fields.”

“These plantations shall ensure sustained supply of bamboo in future,” Mohan said.

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