Bamboo is one of the most important agroforestry crops in India. It has a vital role in the economic and cultural sphere of many Indians. The Indian government has designated bamboo as a minor forest product and encouraged farmers to cultivate bamboo in their lands.
This decade has seen a tremendous increase in the demand for bamboo and bamboo-based products globally. A wide range of products made from bamboo are available in the market today, like bamboo clothing, papers, bedding products, cutleries, furniture, decor products, furniture, lighting, gardening essentials, flooring, building roofs and many more.
The demand towards bamboo-based products increased due to the shifting focus towards more renewable and eco-friendly materials. While commonly used materials like plastic have become a danger to the environment and humankind, few other raw materials, like metals and hardwoods, are diminishing. Bamboo’s rapidly growing power, versatility, adaptability, and minimum maintenance characteristics have made it a suitable alternative to conventionally used resources.
Bamboo in India
Indian communities have used bamboo in many sustainable and feasible ways for centuries. So the legacy of traditions, skills and knowledge on using bamboo vitally stands as a huge asset to us today. There are many craftsmen and artisans who are trained to build/create bamboo products in newer and innovative ways.
Indian bamboo market currently has a demand of 27 million tons of bamboo every year. Though we have 30% production of the world's bamboo resources, we only meet 50% of the domestic demand. Rest 50% is imported from China (majorly) and other South East Asian countries. Nearly 10 million people are employed in the bamboo industry today in India.
In the last decade, bamboo cultivation at private farmlands has increased, and many private bamboo product manufacturers (significant level) have been established. From the government side, there are many subsidies and training programs for cultivating bamboo and making value-added products out of them. All these trends will help India's bamboo sector start meeting up the local demand fully and significantly reduce bamboo product import.
The Future of the Bamboo Market
Future Market Insights recently published a report on the bamboo product market report, and that estimated a global revenue surge of 631% CAGR. And this growth will be accelerated by the people's shift in focus towards sustainability and the availability of affordable bamboo products.
While addressing a virtual exhibition on bamboo technology, Nitin Gadkari, the union minister of MSME (India), said that the bamboo industry in India will be worth Rs 25 to 30 thousand crore rupees soon.
He added that technologically proven, cost-effective, and attractive product designing can establish and promote the use and demand for bamboo, encouraging people to go for bamboo plantations. He also assured that assistance from the Ministry of MSME for any scheme related to the production, manufacturing and promotion of bamboo and bamboo-based products would be provided.
With all these facts and details, we can understand that the growth of the bamboo market in India will increase steadily in the future. As the awareness for going sustainable and taking up a minimalistic lifestyle grows, the demand for bamboo will also increase.
But with great demand comes the need for a great supply. There can be an increase in the number of bamboo manufacturers and players in the market, which may lead to unattainable demand while may lead to unsustainable harvesting methods and end up killing a resource with so much potential.
This can be one of the biggest downsides of bamboo's popularity and demand. The United Nations warns that about half of the 1,200 varieties of bamboo worldwide are extinct or in danger of being eradicated. Other downsides can be price fluctuations and quality issues.
These downsides can be avoided if the government and private bamboo players create a framework and build a healthy demand and supply chain. There needs to be an implementation structure, and the urgent focus needs to be on creating policies and tools for enabling the bamboo market to grow.
The attention also needs to be on connecting the local small-scale bamboo product manufacturers inside the framework, and there should be space for everyone to thrive equally. Understanding the potential of bamboo and its characteristics, other sectors like interior design, event managers, furniture manufacturers, and clothing industries need to recognise it and come together to successfully establish a sustainable future in India.
With people starting to think about and, to an extent, implementing and enjoying zero waste lifestyle and green living, we can foresee a significant sustainable and environmentally friendly future. And this might help in reverting the damages done to the environment in the past. While making minimalistic and sustainable lifestyle choices, people largely choose bamboo based products.
While demand for bamboo products will help the bamboo market thrive in India, it can also have its downsides too. If those downsides can be addressed effectively, there is no doubt that people will go for a bamboo-based lifestyle in future.
Woody Grass is a bamboo-centric platform that celebrates sustainability and green living with a wide range of products, including furniture, garden accessories, lamps and lighting, home decor products, organisers and toiletries. We postulate to build a future driven by alternative solutions and sustainable choices.