THANJAVUR: Bamboo cultivation is fast catching up in Thanjavur district, thanks to the efforts taken by the Tamil Nadu Horticultural Development Agency ((TANHODA).
Ten farmers have taken up new cultivation while many farmers who already have grown bamboos have improved their cultivation.
New bamboo groves have come up in Rajendram, Thingalur, Kalimedu, Orathanadu and Ilanjiyam villages.
V.Muthukumaran has cultivated bamboo on five acres of land at Rajendram village. He has raised four varieties of Bamboo _ Bambosa Vulgaris, Bambosa Nutans, Bambosa Bulgova and Bambosa Dulda _ in five acres of land.
“Forest department has supplied 850 seedlings and planted them at the rate of 160 per acre on five acres. They are now seven months old and are coming up nicely. We grew Bhendi (Ladies finger) as inter crop in the bamboo grove,” Manoharan, brother of Muthukumaran said.
Periyar Maniammai University at Vallam which has developed a model bamboo farm on ten acres of land and a bamboo nursery under National Bamboo mission is also selling seedlings to the farmers.
According to Tamil Nadu Horticultural Agency (Micro division) Assistant General Manager J. Zahir Hussain, and Deputy Director of Horticulture P.Loganathan, bamboo can be rasied as an alternate crop in Thanjavur district.
Called the “poor man’s grass”, bamboo is an ecofriendly crop which has wide applications. It is intertwined with human life from ancient time. Its applications are many. It is used in house construction and agriculture works. Various products like furniture and baskets can be prepared using bamboo. It is an important raw material for paper and rayon. Bamboo cultivation for commercial purposes has been taken up by the Horticulture department.
Deputy Director of Horticulture, Thanjavur district, Loganathan said that it has been planned to raise bamboo on 75 hectares in the district during 2008-2009. Under the scheme, one demonstration farm will be formed, 75 hectares will be brought under new area cultivation, integrated pest management training will be given, drip irrigation facility will be provided, training will be given to farmers in and outside the State, a campaign will be launched and pamphlets will be prepared and distributed. A seminar on bamboo cultivation will also be conducted.
Commercial value of bamboo is very high. In India, Rs. 6,505 crore worth of bamboo products are produced at present. This will go upto Rs. 26,000 crore in 2015.
Bamboo grows fast and comes for harvest in three years of planting. It lives upto 90 to 120 years. It comes for mass flowering around 60 years which indicates its maturity.
Thereafter, the plant dwindles by drying up at the base.
The investment for growing bamboo is very less and every year harvest can be done. All its parts can be used.
Bamboo constitutes 12.8 per cent of the total forest area in India.
Bamboo shoots can be used as food products and are also used for preparing medicine.
“Farmers of Thanjavur district are evincing interest in raising horticulture crops as an alternate to paddy.