Bamboo Primary Processing Centre enabling livelihood options in the state of Kerala in India

KFRIThe Bamboo Primary Processing Centre (BPPC) was established under the Bamboo Technical Support Group – KFRI with the support of the NBM under the Annual Action Plan of 2013-14 with an outlay of Rs. 20 lakhs . The Centre was set up at the Field Research Centre of the KFRI at Velupadam, Thrissur District where the KFRI Bambusetum – the largest live collection of tropical bamboo species in the country, is located.The presence of traditional bamboo dependent communities in the vicinity was an advantage of the location.

The livelihood options of the bamboo dependent communities in the last several decades had undergone a decline due to the non-availability of raw material and lack of marketing avenues for the traditional bamboo products. The newer generation had moved away from this sector and the traditional craft was slowly fading out. The BPPC was proposed as a means of reviving this sector by demonstrating the benefits of mechanized primary processing of bamboo to artisans and farmers. The value addition and improvement in efficiency and quality of production of articles made of bamboo was expected to contribute significantly to reviving the traditional industry and make it a sustainable livelihood option for all involved.

A set of Bamboo processing machinery consisting of Bamboo cross cutting machine, Bamboo Hydraulic Splitter, Bamboo Internal knot removing machine, Bamboo External Knot removing machine, Bamboo Multiple Slicing Machine along with a set of tools were procured and installed in a work shed that also provided working area for the artisans. Master craftsmen with essential skills were used to train the artisans in developing additional skills required for specific bamboo based products. Initially artisans from the nearby areas were selected and trained with the involvement of a local NGO who also provided a initial stipend. Once the success of this venture is demonstrated other groups from the state as well as from around the country will considered for the training. The BPPC can also act as a CFC for the industry for generating primary processed bamboo raw material like poles, split bamboo and slivers for various end products.

Bamboo based Products

After a general appraisal of the type of products made traditionally of bamboo in the region and those which still found a ready market were selected for the purpose of reviving an activity involving traditional artisans and introducing mechanised primary processing for value addition. In spite of inroads that plastic or metal equivalents have made in the recent decades, many of the products still are in demand. A clear preference is still shown for products that are categorised as ecofriendly and products from bamboo, rattan, coir and coconut shell would still find a market. Enabling the artisans to take the benefit of mechanisation in reducing the drudgery and improvement of quality, was expected to make such a bamboo based venture a sustainable livelihood option.

As a first step in initiating the programme, a list of products based on bamboo was prepared which was within the skill levels of the selected artisans after a preliminary training was given. Raw material was provided from the clumps in the FRC, Velupadam and bamboo reeds procured from the Kerala State Bamboo Corporation, Angamaly.

Source : Content Hub is India’s First Bamboo Advocacy and Bamboo Entrepreneurship Development Digital platform.

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