INBAR’s South Asia Regional Office recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to strengthen cooperation and promote knowledge sharing.
Those familiar with bamboo know what an incredible and versatile resource it is. A fast-growing plant with thousands of documented uses, bamboo has enormous potential to mitigate climate change and transform economies. People in India are well aware of bamboo’s usefulness, as many have been using bamboo for centuries to make everything from agricultural tools to furniture to handicrafts. As one of the most bamboo-rich countries in the world, with an estimated 15 million hectares of land containing bamboo, and over 100 different species, India has the opportunity to further harness bamboo’s potential.
An INBAR Member State since 1998, and the seat of the South Asia Regional Office, India has already pursued a number of bamboo initiatives together with INBAR. Most recently, these included a scheme for value-added employment for women in Tripura focused on agarbatti (incense sticks) production, and an award-winning land restoration initiative led by the Utthan Centre.
In recent years, the Indian government has shifted its focus towards bamboo. Though there have been longstanding efforts, such as the National Bamboo Mission, recent developments, like the change in designation of bamboo to a ‘grass’, and increased attention to private sector retailers such as IKEA, demonstrate that bamboo may be entering a new golden age in India.
INBAR has already been involved in ushering in this new era of bamboo, having worked for a long time alongside the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change. One of the results of this partnership is the 2014 ‘Made in India’ report which recommended “systematic, integrated and actionable approaches to developing the bamboo sector” in order to help “strengthen resilience and reduce India’s carbon footprint…[and] contribute to the emergence of new businesses, job creation, poverty alleviation, and the empowerment of women and minorities.”
The latest development in INBAR’s work in India is the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding between INBAR and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). ICAR is the chief body for ‘coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture’ in India. Their 101 institutes and 71 agricultural universities make them one of the largest national agricultural systems in the world and have put them at the forefront of India’s agricultural development. Over the years, ICAR has enabled India to increase food production and improve food security through its work in cutting-edge science and technology.
The Memorandum represents the start of an important partnership which will enable INBAR and ICAR to work more closely. One of the main focuses of the partnership is to promote the exchange of scientific literature and information, scientific equipment, and germplasm and breeding material. The other main focus is development and implementation of collaborative research projects. This partnership is important, not only because it will help improve India’s national bamboo sector, but also because the lessons learned can be shared globally through INBAR’s network of Member States.
Mr. T.P. Subramony, the Director of INBAR’s South Asia Regional Office, said that INBAR is “delighted” to enter into a closer partnership with ICAR. In particular, Mr. Subramony said that INBAR looks forward to focus on joint activities in the areas of technology transfer and exchange, and field-based development activities. “Both institutions have common mandates to work on, such as natural resource management, knowledge sharing, capacity development, and global outreach through international relations, which makes this a very important new collaboration for the Indian bamboo sector.”
Find out more about the Indian Council of Agricultural Research here.
For information about INBAR’s research on the potential for bamboo construction in India, read here.
India is a knowledge partner in the ongoing ‘Dutch-Sino-East Africa’ project. Find out more about India’s involvement here.
Article written by Eilif Ronning