Although termed "forest weed" or "the poor man's timber" bamboo's potential may satisfy modernity's growing needs
FOUR hundred enthusiasts from all over
the world hailed bamboo as "regenerable steel and degradable plastic" at the
recently concluded 4th International
Bamboo Congress held from July 19-22,
1995, at Bali, Indonesia. The participants gathered at the Agung Rai
Museum of Arts which housed the academic activities of the Congress.
The Congress was organised by the
International Development Research
Centre, Canada, and the International
Fund for Agricultural Development
which jointly formed the International
Network for Bamboo and Rattan in
1993, have been working for the cause of
bamboo since the early 80s.
The, other collaborator of this project was International Bamboo Association, formed in 1992, with 86 member
organisations in 35 countries. Besides,
Environmental Bamboo Foundation, a
Bali-b@sed international non-profit
Organisation was joined by the environment and tourism ministries of the
Government of Indonesia to organise
the 4th International Bamboo Congress.
The highlight of the Congress was
the 5th International Bamboo Research
Workshop, earlier ones being held in
China (1985), India (1988), Japan
(1990) and Thailand (1994). The
Congress covered topics like environment and bamboo cultivation; role of
bamboo in development; biodiversity,
genetic resources and conservation of
bamboo; bamboo harvesting; bamboo
usage in the chemical industry and tissue culture of bamboo.
Of recent, the bamboo artisan's
product range has been shrinking due to
a boom in non-traditional material
products. But bamboo may be combined with eco-friendly materials like
leather and textile for manufacturing
modern products. In India, bamboo
now seems viable for structures big
and small, permanent or temporary
alike, in preference to energy consuming alternatives.
The Congress felt that to fully tap
bamboo's potentials, support would be
required from the area of science and
technology, designing, afforestation and
agro-forestry, production and marketing, training and education and as well
as state policies.