The India Bamboo Forum (IBF), a voluntary group of more than 50 committed leaders in the bamboo sector, is pushing the Indian Council for Agriculture Research for setting up of the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on bamboo. Among its various aims, it wants to enhance the ISO codes for bamboo so that it could be used with more versatility for building construction purposes.
The AICRP is already in existence for several crops including banana and spices.
Madhura Yadav, architect planner and one of the conveners of IBF, said that there are ISO codes for bamboo usage, but they need to be enhanced. Joining of bamboo with other materials such as cement concrete needs to be codified so that the natural material can be used extensively.
Yadav, who also the Director at the School of Architecture and Design at Manipal University, said that for the upcoming airport terminal project at Bengaluru, bamboo is being extensively used but the expertise for the use of bamboo is coming from other countries. In Singapore, an experimental building with 121 floors has been constructed with bamboos. In India it is a local versatile material, which can be used for a number of purposes, she said.
India already has a National Bamboo Mission whose main aim is to increase the area under bamboo plantation in non-forest government and private lands, which will supplement farm income and contribute towards resilience to climate change as well as the availability of quality raw material requirement of industries. Across the country, bamboo is grown on almost 1.65 lakh square kilometres. It is commercially cultivated as well as harvested from forest regions as an agroforestry product.
Sanjeev Karpe, founder of Konkan Bamboo and Cane Development Centre and another convenor of the IBF, said the India Bamboo Forum is pushing for the formation of AICRP so that evaluation of certain prioritised bamboo species can be carried out by National Bamboo Mission at the local level. It will also conduct multi-locational performance evaluation trials for different agro-climatic regions and varied end uses, he said.
A note prepared on the setting up of the AICRP said that it should also stress on the development of the species-specific package of practices and technologies from the agronomy perspective. So that it will yield productivity with a greater amount of biomass per unit area, which is a desirable quality of industrial raw material.
The note also added that the AICRP should also develop a long-term genetic improvement and conservation programme of commercial bamboo species. Such programmes will enhance productivity and improvement of desirable qualities and traits of sector-specific bamboo species.