For Nyapi Doni, selecting a new business after closing her poultry and piggery units, was a risky affair. But her grit and determination paved the way to overcome the risk factor and today she is an established bamboo entrepreneur in Arunachal Pradesh.
The bamboo industry in the northeastern state could be a money spinner, if its potential can be exploited, as the state boasts of having 74 species of the grass species, literally known as the 'green gold'.
Doni, who started her 'Arunachal Bamboo' industry in 2019 after leaving aside her poultry and piggery units, now earns more than 50,000 per month by selling her wide range of bamboo products including, furniture, home utility items and jewellery items.
With growing demands for bamboo in the country, many entrepreneurs in Arunachal Pradesh are evincing keen interest to bamboo-based industries for its high-end value products with less investment.
"Bamboo industry is more comfortable and lucrative than other businesses as bamboo products with indigenous touch are a craze among the people," Doni, who owns a large bamboo plantation, said. She claimed that furniture and home utility items produced in her unit are in high demand.
"Recently my unit has constructed all the furniture and utility items for a restaurant in the state capital. We have also designed the interiors of the restaurant with traditional designs made of treated bamboo which will last for over 20 years," she added.
Another lady entrepreneur Techi Anna, who owns the Poma Cane and Bamboo Industry near here, revealed that her efforts were to popularize the unique bamboo products of the state in other parts of the country.
"The unique products of my unit are bamboo plates and bowls which are being produced through bamboo coil technique. We are also producing furniture, home utility items besides jewellery which are available in our showroom at Itanagar," Anna said.
Anna earns around Rs 80,000 on an average per month. However, the sale proceeds sometimes exceed two lakhs especially, during exhibitions where her unit put stalls. The North East Council had sanctioned an amount of Rs 50 lakh to Anna’s industry for construction of a work shed, where many artisans are being imparted training.
Anna said the artisans of the state, if provided quality training and the industrial units purchased the latest machinery, the state too could produce superior quality products. "I will meet Chief Minister Pema Khandu soon with a request to provide funds to the bamboo entrepreneurs of the state for purchasing state-of-the-art machinery and to provide a platform to them for training by experts from other countries," Anna added.
Arunachal Pradesh has the highest growing stock 8,824 million bamboo culms and is in the best position to address the national concern of increasing the market share of bamboo-based products, Dr Ganguva Murtem, chief executive officer of Arunachal Pradesh Bamboo Resource and Development Agency (APBRDA) said.
The northeastern state has an approximately 16,000 sq km area under bamboo cultivation with highest concentration of the species found in Papum Pare, Lower Subansiri, Upper Subansiri, West Siang and East Siang districts.
Among the 74 species of green gold found in the state, Bambusa tulda, Dendrocalamaus asper, Dendrocalamus hamiltonil, Cephalostachys pergracile, Thyrostachys oliverii are some of the species of high demands, Dr Murtem disclosed.
"The APBRDA has so far provided technical knowhow and other support to over 1000 bamboo entrepreneurs in the state. A bamboo technology park is under construction at Kamir Gungu in Papum pare district funded by NEC through Northeast Cane and Bamboo Development Council (NECBDC) with an estimated cost of Rs 10.7 crore including, Rs 7 crore for infrastructure development and the remaining for purchasing machinery,” the official said.
The park will provide skill development training for bamboo-based industries, he added. Murtem disclosed that the agency is working on carbon credits on bamboo and accordingly proposals are being framed.
"Our emphasis is on scientific bamboo treatment and plantation besides storage, as life of a bamboo plant is approximately 4-5 years and if processed and treated scientifically, the products could last for more than 20 years," Murtem revealed. He added that bamboo is such a crop every part of which, right from roots to tip could be utilized.
Meanwhile, the state forest department has proposed a Rs 560 crore project – Holistic Development of Bamboo sector in Arunachal Pradesh (a site to market project) which would benefit more than 10,000 entrepreneurs besides generating revenue for the state exchequer. The project has been approved in principle by Chief Minister Pema Khandu.