Bamboo Enterprise in NadiadJust 21.5 kms from Nadiad is Kheda in Gujarat which is a hub of bamboo farming. Taiyebpura is also famous for bamboo farming of Bambusa balcooa variety of bamboo. It contributes a large share in the economy of Nadiad. Kaprupur is also following bamboo farming in a big way as it is located on the river bank and water is very essential for planting bamboo.
Why is bamboo grown in Kheda near NadiadBamboo is a farm crop and takes 4-5 years before it is absolutely ready for harvesting. With conducive climate and soil conditions, it can even grow and get ready for harvest in just 2 years! Bamboo is a no-death plant. It absorbs carbon and purifies the atmosphere. More and more farmers in this region are shifting to bamboo farming today.
The 'Bamboo Breakers' from Nadiad!When you talk about bamboo in Nadiad, the first thought that will pass your mind is about the 'Kotwalia tribe', also known as 'Vitolia' or 'Vansfodia'. Vans means bamboo while fodia means those who break the bamboos. These tribal people make baskets (tokra), bags, supadas, brooms, containers etc. using bamboo. They live near the forests and on the banks of rivers/streams as bamboo grow in large numbers in such areas. This tribe is only dependent on bamboo industry.
Most of the people belonging to 'Kotwalia tribe' are landless and illiterate. They are absolutely dependent upon bamboo work as their occupation. They also supplement their income by gathering and selling timru leaves, mohua flowers, doli and edible roots etc. The entire family is preoccupied with bamboo work which requires minimum investment.
Well, dry and ripe bamboos are not fit for preparation of bamboo items. Green bamboos of Turi type are used for making Supadas. Baskets, bags, containers etc. are prepared form bamboo of Bhod type. One person, on an average, cuts about 30 to 35 bamboos every day. The broader chip is referred to as 'Pat', thin chip is called 'Silly' and coarse chip is known as 'kanado'. Cutting and finishing of chips is carried out by male members of the family while knitting is done by the female members.
Other tribes which carry out bamboo work include Dhor Koli, Tokre Koli or Kolgha, Kolacha tribes who prepare 'tokras' from bamboo. Konkaona tribe, Varli, Bhil, Ghodia etc. tribes prepare useful house hold items. Kathodi tribe prepares fishing equipment and 'tokra' from bamboo.
Why is Bamboo Industry Important in NadiadThere are a number of reasons for people in Nadiad to depend on bamboo farming for their livelihood -
- Requires minimum amount of investment and comparatively the ROI (Return on Investment) is high.
- Villagers have grown bamboo successfully even on village wasteland!
- There are Self Help Groups (SHGs), Co-operative Societies, Sakhi Mandal Workers to take care of the plants.
- Pasture land has been saved from being sold out for setting up of industries by villagers.
- Women too earn comfortable income by making bamboo artefacts - mats, toys, etc.
- Bamboo can be grown fast and very easily and can be harvested in 1-2 years.
Items and Artefacts Prepared from Bamboo in Nadiad
Bamboo Cover or Ghunghadi
Bamboo is used during monsoon to cover the head from rains. Small and thin strips of bamboo are closely knitted. It is then covered by Khakhara leaves for providing protection from water. In a way, Ghunghadi is like an umbrella but without the handle.
Roofing, Fencing and partition wall using BambooKhapedo is a sort of partition wall prepared from bamboo. It is also used for making cattle shed. House roofing or chhaj is also made with bamoo. Vans Vad or fencing is done around the houses for protect ion from animals.
Cart CagingThis is known as 'tatu' and makes the caging of bullock cart to protect people from rains and sun. It is detachable and can be fixed or removed at will.
Other utility items prepared from BambooPoharu or Kabali are prepared round in shape for storing food grains safely. The upper lid is flexible and strong. Measuring units (or Mopiyu) are made using 1-2 knots of bamboo and filling it with clay! Dalu is a large basket made using bamboo strips.
Fishing InstrumentsMali made from bamboo chips is used for fishing. Sato is utilized for trapping fishes by allowing flow of water directly into Mali. There are other hunting instruments made from bamboo which include bows and arrows, batho for storing spare arrows.
Utility ItemsAgricultural instruments, musical instruments like pawa, flute and pihooda, stair cases (pag-thanio), churner for making butter milk (valoni or ravaiya), marriage pandal (chowri) etc. are also made from bamboo.
Food ItemsDo you know that bamboo seeds are used as food grains? Flour is prepared by grounding bamboo seeds and chapati/roti is prepared. Soft bamboo sprout is cut into small pieces and vegetable is cooked with these. Pickle and sweet murabba is also prepared with soft suckers of bamboo.
MedicinesTribal people still depend on traditional medicines and ways of curing ailments and diseases. For instance, they boil bamboo leaves --- green or dry leaves, in water and this concoction is used for curing infections of the urinary tract. Also, cough is cured by taking ashes of bamboo leaves along with jaggery or honey!
A bamboo plant is considered auspicious and adorns every house and shop today. It denotes long life as a bamboo plant can survive extremely difficult situations. Bamboo plant is supposed to bring good luck too!
Starting a Bamboo FarmA bamboo farm requires preparation before plantation is done. Before you plant the seedlings, you need to test condition of soil and acidity of the soil (it is better if the soil is acidic). Sometimes lime is added for adjusting the pH level.
For plantation of bamboo, you can either grow them from a seed, use node cuttings or even potted bamboo. First grow bamboo in a small scale to test if the variety you have chosen and the climate of the place are conducive. Also, you have to follow recommended specifications as far as spacing of bamboo plants is concerned. Irrigation is of paramount importance too.
Bamboo plants can tolerate drought and are resistant to insects. You have to water them once/twice in a week and as your plantation grows, you have to prune the leaves.
Artisans in Nadiad use Bambusa bamboos and Dendrocalamus strictus for making bamboo products. With Self Help Groups (SHGs) in place in and around Nadiad, women have been trained for making artefacts, toys, mats and many more useful items using bamboo.