The ultimate goal of
development is self-reliance using local resources with local skills to
satisfy local needs. In this context bamboo is an ideal material. It is
a local material with traditional skills to use it in many applications.
Production can start as a home-based activity. Bamboo craft is
currently not a full day's activity but is done in balance with other
activities like agriculture and livestock husbandry, but it has great
In creating jobs with
bamboo, there should be a kind of social contract
environment and the local population. This requires symbiotic linkages
into the process itself: the initial processing takes place at the level
of the rural poor families, and the final processing is at industry
level, with both sectors being interdependent.
In many regions of
India bamboo are being cultivated increasingly as plantations. One
constraint to bamboo-led job creation is the prevailing notion that
bamboo is something that belongs to the past or as a poor man's
material. Also many craft persons in the villages do not see a future in
the craft and want their children to pursue a different profession.
Traditionally, the handicraft sector is an enormous source of
employment, skill and know-how. Products have always been sold at local
markets, but the radical economic changes taking place mean that new
markets have to be explored. The low level of education of the local
worker, the shortage of capital, and a lack of understanding about
markets are constraints to be overcome. On the other hand, now that
consumers are becoming environmentally conscious, they are demanding
"green design" and taking an interest in the total life-cycle of a
product, including its long-term environmental impact.
employment, too. Projects in India have revealed that eight to ten
person days are needed to harvest one ton of bamboo. In India, each year
bout 4.5 million tonnes of bamboo are harvested commercially, which
means 45 million person days. After the harvest, loading and unloading,
stacking and handling need two person days per tonne.
products from bamboo provide immense additional employment
opportunities. An Indian study estimates that if one quarter of the
plywood production in India is replaced by bamboo mat board, additional
employment of about 66 million person days per annum would be created
specially for rural women in mat weaving, virtually weaving money at
home, in addition to protecting 8,000 ha of natural forests and
collateral ecological benefits.
For Costa Rica, it has
been calculated that 1,000 houses built with timber require the
destruction of 560 ha of rainforest. Built with bamboo, a 60 had bamboo
plantation would be sufficient. Among the advantages of bamboo houses
is because of the wood's elastic characteristics - their resistance to
hurricanes and earthquakes. In the author's opinion bamboo creates many
opportunities which are still not being used to the full. This hinders
sustainable development and prevents the local population from
developing a balanced relationship with the environment.
Billing K./Gerger, M., Bamboo as a substitute for wood
in construction - away to reduce deforestation in Costa Rica?,
Stockholm School of
minor field study series no. 12, 1995, 79 pp.
Stiles, D., Tribals and Trade: a strategy for cultural
and ecological survival. Ambio vol. 23 no 2, pp 106-111
Nagi, K, Bamboo: a
people-oriented approach, in: Bamboo, people and the environment.
Proceedings of the International Bamboo Workshop and Congress, Ubud,
vol. 4, 1995, pp 70-77
Jules J. A. Janssen teaches and researches at the