Aiming to bring back the glorious past of bamboo-made products, the Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) is set to launch its Regional Bamboo Research and Training Centre (RBRTC), the first one of its kind in the country, at Domar upazila of Nilphamari on Saturday next.
The BFRI spent Taka 18 crore, including Taka 3.50 crore for construction of the RBRTC building and the rest amount for establishing modern research and training facilities there, to restore the lost tradition of bamboo in the northern region.
"Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin is expected to inaugurate the newly built RBRTC on Saturday next," Senior Research Officer of the BFRI stationed at the RBRTC Md Anisur Rahman said, reports BSS.
The RBRTC has been established under the personal guidance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina aiming at conducting scientific research on bamboo and providing training to farmers to increase bamboo production adopting latest technologies.
The BFRI began construction of the RBRTC in 2016 and completed the process in October last much ahead of the scheduled time of December 2020. Bamboo is generally cultivated from the old mouth of bamboo tree in Rangpur division.
But, farmers will now cultivate bamboo adopting advanced method by using 'conch pen' of bamboo plants instead of old mouth of bamboo tree.
Besides, the RBRTC will provide training to bamboo artisans and expand commercial production of bamboo and marketing of bamboo-made products and sophisticated furniture in domestic and international markets. Bamboo-made furniture are spectacular, attractive and environmentally friendly having durability of about 25 years and with half manufacturing costs than wooden furniture.
"By providing training to farmers and bamboo artisans on processing of bamboo adopting scientific technologies, life expectancy of bamboo and bamboo-made products will be increased by four to five times," Rahman said.
It takes at least 40 years for a teak tree to become mature when a bamboo tree takes only three to four years to mature.
Once, bamboo-made products were being used abundantly in the household, agriculture and business sectors. The lower and middle class houses were also made of bamboo. But, cultivation and production of bamboo has been diminished due to lack of proper dissemination of newly invented technologies.
"The RBRTC has taken up the task of reviving lost traditions of bamboo, mainly aiming at benefiting farmers financially by increasing production of bamboo at reduced costs," Rahman said. Bamboo artisan Ashraf Ali, 66, of Boragari union in Domar upazila said, once the bamboo industry was found in almost every village. But, plastic products have captured the place of eco-friendly bamboo-made products.
"The bamboo industry is on the verge of extinction now due to lack of capital, increase in wages of workers and easier availability of plastic products at lowest costs," Ali said. However, there is still a huge demand for bamboo products in rural areas.
"In addition to men, many women were involved in producing bamboo-made and cane-made household goods to sell those in the local markets in the past," he said.
In the course of time, bamboo or cane artisans and workers are failing to retain their ancestral profession and bamboo-based cottage industry. "As a result, many bamboo artisans and workers have left their ancestral profession," he said, hoping that the RBRTC will be able to bring back the past glory of eco-friendly bamboo-made household goods and furniture.
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