India has one of the richest bamboo resources in the World, second only to China in Bamboo production. Bamboo can be regarded as one of the most valuable natural resource available. The cultural significance of Bamboo in Asian culture is profound. Bamboos have thousands of economic applications; hence people call them ‘green gold’, ‘poor man’s timber’, ‘friend of the people’ and ‘cradle to coffin timber’. It is a vital element of India’s North Eastern region comprising the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura with two-thirds of the growing stock of bamboos in the country. These days bamboo is no longer seen as a poor man’s timber, it is growing to be the most promising substitute for wood and there is great scope for further generating rural employment. Considering its vast application diversity, and being one of North East India’s most valuable resources and given the vast diversity in its applicability and the enormous scope for improvement of rural livelihoods, bamboo is among the most important resources that could be managed towards the improvement of rural poverty, empowerment of women and environmental rejuvenation. Bamboo potential is immense and the best way to exploit the opportunity is to build the awareness about the social, environmental and economic advantages of Bamboo.
High diversity of bamboo resource plays a significant role in the food and nutritional security of the tribal population. The skill of working with bamboo is extremely widespread with a large percentage of the ethnic population capable of refined craftsmanship in this material. Being an important means of economic growth and of improving the socio-economic conditions of the rural poor, there has been a growing awareness in recent years about the importance of bamboo. However, only 50 per cent of that demand can be met because of lack of facilities for value addition and transportation. In view of the global market trends in bamboo usage coupled with the fact that India has the largest recorded bamboo resources globally; the need to prioritize this sector is of great significance.
The first North East Region World Bamboo Day 2017 was celebrated at Nagaland Bamboo Resource Centre, Dimapur, with the theme ‘A Natural Celebration’. There was participation by relevant stakeholders from across the country including policy makers and domain experts, in addition to entrepreneurs and bamboo artisans. The World Bamboo Day 2017 will be remembered for successfully charting the road map by the Ministry of DoNER for the formation of the North East Bamboo Development Council (NEBDC).