MYSORE: Forest Minister C P Yogeshwar said on Tuesday that the state government was contemplating developing bamboo as a commercial crop.
Speaking after inaugurating the state-level Bamboo Mela here on Wednesday, he said, “Bamboo has the power to change the economy of the country. I have already spoken to the Chief Minister in this regard and we will give more focus on bamboo cultivation to develop it as a commercial crop,” he said.
Stating that bamboo cultivation could earn more income to farmers than sugarcane, he said many farmers had evinced interest in bamboo cultivation. “It will also help the Medar community involved in the manufacturing of bamboo products,” the minister said.
Yogeshwar said researches showed that bamboo from which biomass could be generated could become a best alternative to conventional power sources. Referring to a request made by retired IFS officer A C Laxman for clearing hurdles in cutting and transporting bamboo, Yogeshwar said he would sign necessary papers.
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Development) G V Sugur said the Forest Department was holding talks with an Assam team to provide skill development training to local artisans involved in bamboo products manufacturing.
The finished products of the state were not as good as those from northern and eastern states, he said.
He said a two-day training programme on bamboo cultivation would be held in Bangalore on March 2-3. “We are focusing on improving bamboo cultivation in private land and farmers will get `8,000 incentive for every hectare,” he said.
Bamboo had been planted in 178 hectares of private land in the last two years and in over 5,000 hectares of non-forest land, he said.
Sugur added that most of the cultivation took place in Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Belgaum, Chikmagalur, Kodagu and Hassan districts.
Earn `1 lakh in a Year
Dr Bharati, Director, Bamboo Technology, Hosur, said farmers could earn `1 lakh every year by cultivating bamboo in one acre. He said India could become self- sufficient in power, if bamboo was grown in 200 acres in each village .