SURAT: Bamboo plantations on private land is on upswing in south Gujarat district with the central government re-classifying the plant under grass, thus not requiring forest department’s permission for cutting. Farmers have now started planting in their fields to reap economic benefits. Maximum bamboo plantations are seen in districts like Narmada, Surat, Tapi and the Dang.
Until recently, bamboo was classified as tree and it was mandatory to take permission of forest department to cut it. “This will benefit all types of farmers as they can grow thorn bamboo around their field and even make earning by cutting it every three years,” an official from forest department said.
A recent count by forest department in Surat district stated that there were about 2.7 lakh bamboo trees in nearly 3,000 hectare. In farm forestry and outside forest area, bamboo is planted in about 500-600 hectare area and has grown by 10 per cent in last six months.
Until recently, farmers used to fence their fields with different types of trees preferably with thorns, but now people have started planting bamboo.
“The advantage of bamboo is that every three years the farmer with a hectare of bamboo plantation on borders could earn as much as Rs 30,000 by sale of bamboo sticks,” district forest officer, Surat, Puneet Nayyar said. This is additional earning for a farmer apart from his regular crop.
Mainly two types of bamboo grows in this region — manvel and katas. These are low strength varieties. However, many have started planting other varieties like iscova and goagiri that have higher strength and sells at Rs 150 per piece against cheaper variety that fetches Rs 25 per piece. Bamboos are mainly used in construction, handicraft, furniture and some parts of it are used by many for making eat-able items.