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To fulfil the need to promote bamboo based livelihood options on a mission mode the Uttarakhand Bamboo and Fiber Development Board (UBFDB) was established in the year 2003 a registered society under the Society’s Registration Act 21 of 1860. It was set up under the aegis of the Govt. of Uttaranchal, as part of the entrepreneurship development policy of the state. The organisation’s mandate was clear- to develop a chain of rural and urban entrepreneurs, working on locally available bamboo and natural fibers. This required in-depth research on the physical properties of the bamboos and natural fibers available in the state so as to determine the industrial and other uses these materials could yield. All such efforts had a strong livelihood focus so that that the resultant income generated could accrue directly to the rural communities.
Initial Rationale behind Bamboo Development:
- In open forests it can be grown to improve the quality of the forests.
- Planting it near river valleys can prevent soil erosion
- Once planted its parts can be harvested from the 7th to 50th year
- Bamboo is one of the most useful species for planting on Civil/ Community/ Van Panchayat forests and even private fallow lands as it could meet hundreds of rural requirements.
In order to diversify the existing usage of bamboo and natural fiber from mere household usage to some of those thousands it is known for, UBFDB initiated linkages with national and international agencies. Over the years these external inputs have greatly enriched UBFDB’s own understanding of bamboo besides enhancing their capacity to contribute meaningfully in the sector. Given that bamboo has the potential to simultaneously contribute to the economic, social and ecological security UBFDB has demonstrated the ability of bamboo and natural fibers to address a variety of needs. These include – sustainable resource development, soil and water conservation, carbon sequestration, livelihood security, earth-quake safe and aesthetic housing, and rural handicraft enterprise development.