‘Green Gold’: Why NITI Aayog is betting on stepping up bamboo cultivation & exports

NITI Aayog is working on a comprehensive policy to maximize the benefits of bamboo, often referred to as ‘green gold‘, due to its potential in sectors such as biofuel. The aim is to encourage and support the entire bamboo value chain, from cultivation to production and development, as this tree-like grass gains popularity in infrastructure and biofuel industries.
According to a senior government official quoted in an ET report, multiple meetings have been held under the guidance of NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand to create a blueprint that will boost bamboo cultivation and utilization.
The proposed strategy will encompass plantation, production, processing, standardization, and utilization, with the goal of establishing a circular economy within the sector. The policy, expected to be released by the end of this year, will also include setting BIS standards for bamboo, certification of food and safety standards for bamboo products, and geographical indications (GI) tagging to enhance export opportunities.

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The government is particularly interested in promoting the large-scale use of bamboo for bio-ethanol production in order to reduce India’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. Additionally, the strength and versatility of bamboo are being explored for applications in construction and infrastructure.
China, India, and Myanmar account for 80% of the world’s bamboo area, with China dominating the global supply. Despite being the second-largest country in terms of bamboo forest area, India’s industrialization of bamboo remains relatively low, leading to supply-side constraints and stagnant bamboo exports.
The global bamboo market was valued at $68.8 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $98.3 billion by 2025. Bamboo is an environmentally friendly option, requiring 30% less water than hardwood trees and producing 35% more oxygen, making it suitable for combating climate change.
In 2018-19, the government launched the National Bamboo Mission with the aim of facilitating the holistic development of the bamboo value chain. However, the absence of incentives for producers and other stakeholders has hindered significant growth in bamboo production.

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