Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture
A Road Map for Andhra Pradesh Bamboo Mission

I. Introduction

Bamboo Distribution in the Country: India has one of the richest bamboo resources in the World, second only to China in Bamboo production.  The  annual bamboo production in the country is estimated at 3.23 million tons.  According to Forest Survey of India (FSI), in India bamboo grows in 8.96 million hectares of forest area, which constitutes about 12.8% of total forest area of the country. Of this, nearly 28% occur in the North Eastern States, followed by 20.3% in Madhya Pradesh, 9.90% in Maharashtra, 8.7% in Orissa, 7.4% in Andhra Pradesh, 5.5% in Karnataka and the balance is spread over in other states.

Bamboo Forests in Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh with 63,814 sq. km. of notified forest endowed with rich floral diversity and ecological status.  However, these forest resources in the State, as elsewhere in the country, are put to excessive use and exploitation and therefore have suffered from degradation and denudation.  The State Government, consistent with the policy framework of the Government of India, has launched several measures for sustainable forest development. Significant among these measures is the participatory forest management launched in the country in 1990 as a corollary to revision of the National forest policy during 1988. In Andhra Pradesh, this concept initiated as Joint Forest Management in 1992 graduated to Community Forest Management since 2002. This novel forest management strategy has had salutary effects on forest conservation and development and has virtually reversed the forest degradation trend and ushered in a new era of Sustainable Forest Management. Density of forest cover increased by nearly 19% as assessed through remote sensing. At present 8061 Vana Samrakshana Samithies are actively associated in managing around 1.845 million ha (about 29% of state’s forests) in the State.

Among the major economic forest products in the State, Bamboo occupies the prime slot. In Andhra Pradesh Bamboo occurs over an area of 9,882 sq. km with a potential yield of 70,000 metric tons annually. Bamboo is a versatile plantation species and its afforestation is ecologically sound and economically viable. It is also adopted by farmers as agro forestry species, planted along field bunds and in concentrated blocks.  It has great demand both in domestic and industrial sectors.  Besides meeting the basic necessities of life i.e. food, shelter and clothing, it is also used in making baskets, fencing mats (thatties), toys, house hold articles and raw material in paper and pulpwood industries.  Thus it provides livelihood to millions of people. Bamboo is everything to some and something to all. 

Bamboo occurs naturally in the forests and is also raised as plantation crop.  It is a woody perennial grass with life span of about 30 – 40 years.  Potential bamboo growth is found naturally in well drained, high rain fall zones up to an altitude of 800 M.  It also occurs in dry deciduous forest with rainfall as low as 1000 mm.  Rainfall plays an important role in the distribution and growth of quality bamboo. Most potential Bamboo forests occur in Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Adilabad, Khammam, Prakasam and Kurnool districts.  It also occurs to a limited extent in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Mahabubnagar, Karimnagar and Warangal districts.

Area by occurrence:

Sl. No. Occurrence

Area (Sq.Kms)


















Species Wise Composition: Two important species of Bamboo occurring in the State of Andhra Pradesh are: Dendrocalamus strictus(Sadanam or solid bamboo) and Bambusa bambos (Mullem or hollow bamboo). The extent of coverage of the two major species as follows :                                                                                              (in

Dendrocalamus strictus


Bambusa bambos




Besides the above species, Dendocalmus hamiltonii (locally called as Jadi Veduru) is present in small patches in East Godavari, West Godavari, Khammamand Visakhapatnam districts. No other species of Bamboo is reported in the state.

Dendrocalamus strictus is the most common valuable and universally used bamboo and forms 90%–95% of bamboo composition in the natural forests. It is a medium sized densely tufted bamboo with strong, thick walled or almost solid culms, varying in size from 12Mt-15 Mt. in height and 5-10 cms in diameter. The length of internodes range from 25-38 cms.

Dendrocalamus strictus is a clump forming and culm producing Bamboo and produces 4-20 new culms annually. In a few cases culm production may be upto 30-50 culms depending upon biotic and abiotic factors.  Culm matures in three years and lives on average for about 7 years. Mature culms are cut and regeneration obtained from new culms produced annually from under ground rhizomes.  It is drought and frost hardy. It is a light demander and early colonizer. A full culm on an average weighs about 3.18 Kg. to 6.8 Kg. Rhizomes are short, knotty, thick solid out growths producing both rhizomes just before the monsoon and culm buds in winter. It is extensively raised as plantation crop within and outside forest areas.  This variety has wide range of utility. 

Bamboosa bambos forms about 10% of the bamboo composition in natural forests.  It thrives in moist deciduous forests and semi evergreen forests along perennial streams, valleys and moist localities.  A clump with a circumference of 12 Mt has 50 -70 green culms which are 26-30 Mt high and 15-25 cm diameter.  The culms uniformly taper to the tip branched from the base with prominent nodes.  Lower nodes bear horizontal shoots armed with 2 - 3 recurred spines.  Inter nodes are hollow (30 - 45 cm length), walls 2-5 mms thick. Wall thickness gradually decreases from bottom to top, with short, sharp spines at the nodes.  Each clump produces 3 - 4 new culms every year and its flowering cycle is 32-44 years. Its occurrence, mostly in small patches, limits its industrial utility.

Bamboo Growth in Non-Forest Lands: Bamboo is also found on private lands or homestead gardens but is not a widely preferred species by farmers.  Bamboo plantations were raised in the past in a small way in West Godavari, Krishna and Khammam districts under the Social Forestry initiative of the state. Availability of Bamboo resources in private lands is marginal and insignificant and no authentic data is available about the extent and its value. 

Resource Analysis: According to the Pre-Investment Survey of Forest Resources (PIS) carried out during year 1968-74, the potential annual cut of bamboo in the State is 5,00,000 M.T.,  Details are as follows:

Zone -1

Eastern ghats region, lying in Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari, and Khammam districts- Forests south of Sabari river


Zone -2

Nallamallai hills of Kurnool and Prakasam districts 


Zone -3

Adilabad district


Zone -4

Balance of Khammam district


Zone -5

All other bamboo areas in the state





The zones - 1, 2, 3 account for over 80% of the total potential of the state and contribute substantially to the industrial use of bamboo in the state (around 2,00,000 tons in the past). However 25% of the available bamboo resources are located in inaccessible areas and in hill slopes. Thus the potential harvestable yield is 3,75,000 metric tones. On a three year felling cycle annually 1,25,000 metric tones should be available. However most of these Bamboo forests flowered during mid 1980s and consequently production has come down significantly. Moreover, between the period of the above survey and now, large areas have gone under encroachment for agriculture thereby reducing Bamboo production. Further due to the recent orders of the Hon’ble Supreme court of India, Bamboo resources available in protected areas are not being harvested. In fact of the 22 Sanctuaries and 5 National Parks, Bamboo occurs in significant quantities in 5 Sanctuaries and 1 National Park. There is shrinkage to the extent of 26.88% of productive area on account of ban on working in Sanctuaries and National Parks. Thus an estimated 18750 metric tones of Bamboo is not being harvested on account of this decision.

According to the latest working plan reports, out of 23 districts in Andhra Pradesh bamboo working is proposed in 13 districts. Anticipated annual yield of Bamboo from areas covered by these Working Plans is 34,332.74 metric tones of green bamboos and 35,121.59 metric tons of Industrial Cuts.  

The Andhra Pradesh Forest Development Corporation Ltd. raised industrial plantations of bamboo from 1976, mostly in Khammam, Kurnool, East Godavari and West Godavari districts over an extent of 12,500 ha.  Since 1998 plantations are raised using improved planting stock, adopting intensive site management and watershed approach and are expected to give 90% stocking and an yield of 7.5 M.T./ha. by the end of 5th year. While the older plantations have about 50% stocking and are worked on a 3 year felling cycle, the recent bamboo plantations with better productivity are worked in alternate year.   The plantations raised by APFDC Ltd., are expected to yield about 15,000 metric tones of green bamboos and 20,000 metric tones of industrial cuts.

In addition to the above out of 8061 Vana Samrakshana Samithies nearly 500 VSSs have adequate Bamboo resources. It is estimated that annual production of Bamboos by these VSSs is 10,000 metric tones. However massive plantations are planned for the advantage of VSSs which will enhance the production potential of these VSSs to the tune of 1,00,000 metric tones in the next 5 years.

Thus the present production of 115,000 metric tones will be enhanced to 2,15,000 metric tones in the state.

II. Management of Bamboo Forests:

Silviculture System: The Silviculture system adopted is “culm selection system”, combined with cleaning and tending operations. Clump is the unit of management. Mature culms will be extracted by selection method depending upon the total number of mature culms and the productive capacity of the clumps. The main objective is to ensure maximum production without impairing the vigor of the clump and to protect bamboo to ensure sustained growth and productivity.

Felling Rules: The bamboo coupes in each series will be worked on a three-year felling cycle. However to provide congenial conditions or healthy growth of clump and culms, a three months rest period is prescribed from 1st of July to 30th of September. This helps to protect the rhizome from disturbance and prevents removal of tender bamboo shoots during monsoon period. Though extraction of tender shoots is prohibited, the local tribal communities do use them during monsoon as food though no literature is available documenting this utility. The following felling rules are prescribed for working bamboo areas:
  • No felling of bamboos is carried out during the monsoon period i.e. from 1st July to 30th September as this is the period of formation of new culms and the area is closed for grazing to avoid damage of fresh shoot and rhizomes by cattle.
  • No clump is considered mature for exploitation unless it contains more than eight mature (more than one season old) culms.
  • In a mature clump the following types of culms are retained-
  • All current season culms i.e. less than one year old culms
  • From the rest, equal in the number to the current season culms or eight whichever is more
  • The remaining culms are considered available for exploitation.
  • The oldest culms and deteriorating culms, if any, that cannot stand for another cycle should be cut first.  Young culms of 1 and 2 seasons old should be retained.  If no new culms are produced. 50% of the old culms are to be retained.
  • Culms must be cut clear with a sharp instrument at a height of 15 -30 cms. above the ground level and just above the septum of the nodes so as to avoid forming a receptacle to collect water.
  • Cutting should be made on one side of the clump opposite to that where the largest number of one-year-old culms are found.  Because new culms are usually produced from that part of the clump where the rhizomes are most vigorous, this part of the clump needs to be protected.
  • In case of flowering clumps exploitation is deferred till the seeding is completed.
  • All dead, dry, top broken (more than 1/3 of the normal length damaged), twisted, bent, malformed culms are felled without exception.
  • Congestion in clumps can be removed by cutting out such useless portions of the clump viz the central raised portion or the down hill portion with no chance of extension of new growth and by leaving more culms on the side of new growth on the uphill side etc.  If the congested culms are on easy ground, then a gap is made and the central portion cut out leaving culms on the periphery only.  If the new growth is progressing in some particular direction, it should be helped by leaving more mature culms on that side.  The congested clump should be thinned heavily to allow light and air to pass through. Crooked culms should be cut.
  • After felling, debris and slash should be removed to prevent rotting or fire damage.
  • The following acts are strictly prohibited.
  • Digging of rhizomes,
  • Cutting of tops of bamboos for fodder,
  • Use of tender bamboos for bundling           
  • All climbers infesting the bamboo clumps are to be removed.

Conservation and Management Practices of Bamboo in Natural Forests in A.P., in VSS and Non VSS areas: Working of forests including bamboo forests is governed by Working Plans. These are mandatory documents and need approval of the Government of India in terms of Forest Conservation Act 1980. Bamboo bearing forests of a given forest division is constituted as a Bamboo working circle. Invariably this Working Circle overlaps with other Working Circles in that occurrence of Bamboo is gregarious as well as scattered and may overlap areas that require treatment other than managing bamboo alone. Areas of such working circles are then organized into series depending on geographic contiguity of area in question. Each series is then organized into coupes. Number of coupes within a series is equal to the felling cycle of bamboo. Since felling cycle in the Working Plans of Andhra Pradesh is 3 years, each bamboo series will have three coupes. Thus these coupes are worked once in three years. Constitution and demarcation of coupes is done duly ensuring equiproductivity of the coupes. In case of VSSs organizing areas into coupes is done depending on abundance of occurrence of bamboo in the respective VSS. If bamboo occurs copiously in a given VSS it may be divided into three coupes in which case 1/3rd of the VSS area is worked every year to yield bamboo every year and alternatively if occurrence is sporadic, entire VSS may be worked along with nearest coup once in three years. These details are included in the microplans of the respective VSSs. Felling or extraction of bamboo is done following silvicultural principles and felling rules detailed above.
Conservation and Improvement of Degraded Natural Bamboo Forests in VSS & non VSS areas: Due to inadequate protection and managerial inputs, Bamboo forests especially the ones adjacent to habitations are under varying degree of biotic interference and degradation. In such forests clumps are congested and their productivity is low. Most of such forests are now under management of VSSs. These Bamboo forests were neglected and not managed and were subjected to hacking and suffered from forest fires and in the areas where Bamboo had flowered, regeneration had not established due to grazing, fire and other biotic factors. Field operations for rejuvenation of such forests include decongestion, saucer weeding, mounding to young clumps, staggered trenches near the clumps to impound moisture, fire control measures and SMC works like CCTs, Gully control structures, Mini Percolation Tanks etc. Selective felling of mature Bamboo culms duly retaining 6 to 8 culms per clumps to support the clump is a silvicultural operation that ensures health of the clump and also fetches revenue to the VSSs as the Bamboos so removed are either used to meet local demand or sold by the VSS as green Bamboos or upon adding value in the form of Bamboo articles like Baskets, Agarabattis, Mats etc.

Cultivation Practices, Nursery & Plantations in VSS & NonVSS Areas:
Nursery Practices: Since flowering and seeding in Dendrocalamus strictus take a very long time and the seed viability is often less than six months, it is imperative to establish rhizome banks to ensure the continuous supply of planting stock. Following are the essential steps to establish the rhizome bank.

Procurement of Initial Multiplication Stock: To raise the initial multiplication stock, the fresh and viable seeds of bamboo are germinated in germination chamber or sown directly in nursery beds. After germination the seedlings at the stage of 3-5 leaves should be transferred to polybags (size-24 x 18 cm) filled with growing medium (soil: sand: FYM in the ratio of 1:1:1). The transplanted seedlings should be kept in shade for about 7 days and then shifted to direct sun light. Maintain the seedlings by regular watering weeding etc till the time they attain 4-6 culms (tillers). This generally takes about 4-6 month. At this stage the seedlings are ready for multiplication. Alternately, wild young rhizomes of bamboo in the forest, whenever available may be collected from good bamboo stands and used in place of seedlings. To have assured and accelerated growth such rhizomes should be maintained for two seasons and when they attain the size of a small ‘onion’ they should be planted.

Another method used for multiplication of bamboo seedlings is called ‘Tiller separation’. This is a form of clump division. Like many other grasses, bamboo has an inherent proliferating capacity and offset planting capability of reproducing it self. This capacity of the bamboos had been used in developing a method for multiplication of nursery stock, by seedling separation and planting. When the seedlings are at 4-6 culms stage, these are ready to be used for multiplication. Soil from the root system is washed off with water.  The rhizomes are carefully separated with the help of a sharp secateur, in such a way that each separated unit has a shoot, rhizome and roots.  A seedling at 4-5 culms stage can usually be made into about 3-4 such units or propagules. These separated units (propagules) are then transplanted in polybags filled with soil mixture as described earlier. The plants are kept in shade for 7-10 days and watered regularly. Thereafter the plants are shifted to the nursery under full sunlight. After about six months the plants may be used for field planting or the stock can be further multiplied, and the process can be repeated at least twice every year for a number of years. The method is not only very simple, but also ensure high success rates. An additional advantage of this method is that the propagules remain small in size due to repeated rhizome separation, thereby making them easy to handle and transport.

Storage of Planting Stock: In bamboo nurseries, planting stock needs to be stored for use in future. For storage we select the screened material, which exhibit higher proliferation rate. The propagules can be stored in open. The stock should be stored carefully in the rhizome bank. Not only regular watering, weeding, protection etc, are needed, but also regular fertilizer application is essential. Further, care should be taken that the root does not penetrate the soil below the bags. Seedlings need to be protected form frost and wildlife also.

Planting: Successful bamboo planting and growth are regulated by three important factors:

  • loose and well aerated soil for rapid development of the rhizome
  • adequate growing space for rhizome during its life and
  • enough moisture in the soil, particularly during the growin season from July to October

Heavy soils with poor drainage should be avoided.

Cultivation Practices: A deep ploughing (about 20 to 30 cm) with tractor or country plough, to loosen soil, improve aeration and for moisture conservation is advisable. As  bamboos live over 30 years, with clump size increasing with age, sufficient space for development of individual clumps should be allotted.  For Dendrocalamus strictus a 5m x 4m (500 nos. per ha) or 5m x 5m (400 nos./ ha) would be good espacement. 30 cum pits are dug, and the soil allowed to weather for one month before refilling the pits with good top-soil.  If the area is ploughed, planting can be done by scooping the earth. Seedlings with two seasons growth with rhizomes of the size of a small ‘onion’  are planted with the ball of earth intact. If irrigation facilities are available, naked seedlings 9 to 12 months old can also be used. 30 to 40 cm tall seedlings should be planted with the ball of earth,  4 to 6 cm below the general ground level. Planting is best done in the early part of the rainy season, but after the soil has become sufficiently moist. A saucer of 50 cm radius with a central mound 15 cm high and 15 cm radius may be formed around each seedling.

Cultural Operations: The planting lines should be weeded clean at suitable intervals, two or three times a year to a width of one metre around the plants. The bamboo rhizome needs loose, well aerated soil for good growth for production of new culms. Where inter-cropping is done, the soil around the bamboo seedlings may be worked up to a depth of about 15 cm and a radius of one metre once at the end of rains and a second time in December – January, to loosen the soil and conserve moisture. Where inter-cropping is not practiced, ploughing should be done once or twice at the end of the rainy season. Irrigation helps good growth. These operations are to be repeated every year to facilitate good rhizome development and growth.

Cleaning: As the clump expands all round, one would notice congestion also at the center. This will hinder girth development. So thin culms are removed, providing more space to a lesser number to grow better. This cleaning operation may be from 4th year onwards, and will also be repeated as a part of harvesting activity when due for harvest from the following year or two years later.

Protection: Tender bamboo is relished by cattle and protection from cattle is essential.
Planting Bamboo as Under Crop: In certain degraded natural forests devoid of bamboo and in plantations of teak, bamboo can be introduced as an undercrop. Here care should be taken to ensure that young seedlings receive adequate light for their establishment. For this reason planting can be done in temporary gaps that arise on account of silvicultural thinnings in such forests and plantations.

Harvesting and Marketing Bamboos in VSS & Non VSS Areas and Non Forest Lands: Harvesting and marketing bamboos in VSS & non VSS areas and non forest lands: Working season commences from 1st October every year and continues up to end of June. The annual coupe is divided into convenient sectors depending upon the accessibility and harvesting takes place in one direction.  All dead, dry and crooked culms, lops and tops and also high cuts are extracted and converted into 1.5 - 2.0 M long billets and are made into bundles of 20 pieces each and are stacked at plantation/forest site and are called industrial cuts.  Mature green bamboo is cut and converted into 6-8 Mt. lengths and are stacked separately.  Large work force is deployed for bamboo harvesting.  It normally takes three weeks before the harvested green bamboo is transported, as and when ready, to nearest sale depots.  Based on the size and diameter at the base the bamboo is segregated and formed into convenient lots (sufficient for a lorry load).  Bamboo is classified as super class, special class, first class, second class and third class, as described below:


(bottom girth in cms)

Super class

18 cms and above

Special class

15 to 18 cms

1st class

12 to 15 cms

2nd class

9 to 12 cms

3rd class

below 9 cms      

From the commercial point of view, the bamboo harvested is categorized into the following classes depending upon the diameter of the culm: Bamboos which is not straight and have bends are lotted together.  These lots made by quality class are put to public auction once or twice a month at pre announced date and time.  Sadanam (D. strictus) and Mullam (B. bambos) is stored and auctioned separately.  It normally takes a minimum six weeks after cutting before it is auctioned.  The successful purchasers will effect payment and transport the material as convenient to them. The industrial cuts are sold at forest/plantation sites on tender basis or at prefixed rates.  The paper industries normally buy and transport the material directly to mill site.  While the green bamboo is sold by numbers, the industrial cuts are sold by weight. Both, the green bamboo and the industrial cuts attract the provision of transit rules (under the A P Forest Act, 1967) and therefore require a valid permit for transportation.

III. Present Utilization of Bamboo

Bamboo is an important source of livelihood for the rural folk especially the Scheduled tribes, Scheduled castes and other poor traditional bamboo artisans. It is extensively used in construction of rural housing as posts, walls, roofing, fencing etc., and is often referred to as poor man’s timber. The uses range from basket making, weaving mats to traditional implements, furniture, ply-bamboo panels, flooring and construction materials, medicines, food etc., Strength, straightness, lightness, fast rate of growth and ease in propagation makes bamboo an excellent wood substitute.

Bamboo forms an excellent raw material for pulp in paper industries. In the past it used to form almost 40% of the total raw material requirement of Paper Industry in Andhra Pradesh. However with the change of technology and limited availability, hardwoods largely replaced bamboo. Initially, to encourage industries, the Govt. allocated large extent of bamboo forests on long lease for working. This helped in opening of interior areas and utilization of bamboo in industrial production. With the promulgation of Forest (Conservation) Act: 1980, all these leases were withdrawn. Now Govt. is not committed to any industrial supplies. Bamboo industrial cuts extracted from forests / plantations are sold on market price, (fixed by Govt.). The paper industries in the state are progressively reducing their requirement of bamboo. While most of the current requirement is met from the neighboring states namely Chattisgarh, Maharastra, Orissa and also West Bengal and Assam, nearly 55,000 MT of industrial cuts are procured from the state forests. 

Traditional Uses:

Buroods (Medaras): A major household sector where sizable quantity of Bamboo is utilised is by basket weaving community called ‘Buroods’ or Medaras. Traditionally this community has been procuring bamboo and making livelihood by making baskets, mats, fencing mats (thatties), winnowing trays, hand fans and other articles required in rural areas. There are nearly 20,000 members of weaker sections belonging to 425 burood societies receiving bamboo from select depots of Forest Department. While the quantity of supplies made to these societies varies from year to year, on average the demand by this sector is about 15,000 metric tonnes.

IV. Emerging Uses of Bamboo

The previous chapter outlined the present uses to which Bamboo is put in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The systems of management and working of Bamboo forests, the administrative and institutional structure and even market structure have been tuned in line with the outlined utilization pattern of Bamboo.  But experience elsewhere especially in China and in some of the North Eastern states have opened new vistas in utilization of Bamboo. Its fast growth, strong and versatile mechanical properties of its poles, widespread nature of its distribution and the ease with which it can be propagated have opened new avenues and hopes. Seen in the backdrop of depletion of timber resources feasibility of using bamboo as a timber  substitute is altogether a new chapter in utilization of Bamboo. This chapter outlines the possibilities of popularizing these new utilities of Bamboo. These are classified as the ones that are strip or slat based, mat based, stick and splint based and the ones that use all waste and byproducts. The examples of stick based applications are incense sticks or agarbatthi sticks, match splints, fire crackers (for rockets and replacement of metallic wire and rod in sparklers) and handicrafts of various types. Examples of mat based applications are roofing, partitioning, furniture, packaging etc., applications, bamboo mat board, bamboo mat corrugated sheets, bamboo mat as veneer / core in plywood and particle board manufacturing. Applications of strip based utilities are converting bamboo poles into strips to make bamboo wood (an alternate to quality hard woods) and bamboo laminates for pallets and other modular / Completely Knocked Down (CKD) furniture and other structural applications. Dead and non saleable bamboo, bamboo leaf / branches / lops & tops and harvesting and waste generated during conversion can be used for making charcoal and briquetted coal and for power generation through gasification / incineration

Bamboo Splints and Sticks: Safety matches and Agarabatti sticks are widely known, regularly used by all sections of the Indian society. A macro level survey reveals that the current turnover of match sticks industry is around Rs. 800 crore. Safety matches industry in India is spread into three categories. The mechanized large scale sector, the hand made small scale & cottage sector. Match boxes containing 50 match sticks, account for 92 per cent of the Indian market. This packet generally sold at 50 paise to the buyer, is purchased by retailers generally at 37 paise. This shows the price sensitivity of this product and any smallest change in the product quality and pricing will matter a lot. The widely used raw material for manufacture of safety matches is wood. Soft woods are used to make the match sticks, called as “match splints”.  Generally wood from Semul, Kadam and Poplar are used for this purpose. But these woody species take generally between 10 and 30 years to yield wood of suitable size and requirement and the demand for suitable wood material is always high. Match stick manufacturing activity is concentrated in places like Sivakasi, Kovilpatti and Gudiattam of Tamilnadu and its marketing is highly organized. Around 82% of total match stick production in the country is in the handmade (small scale -67% & cottage -15%) sector, where technology has remained relatively simple, providing employment for approximately 250,000 people. Balance 18% of the production is done in mechanized industry sector employing only 6,000 people.

The Indian Agarabatti industry is placed at Rs. 1000 Crore of turnover annually. This industry has been by and large in the house hold and handmade sector. There is a widespread traditional market for Agarabatti with a variety of fragrances. Agarabatti sticks occupy special position in all traditional Indian houses and in customs and festivals. No Indian festival or ritual takes place without use of Agarabatti sticks.  There are a number of Industries spread over all over India specializing in various fragrances. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka alone account for around 60% of this Industry.

The Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute (IPIRTI), Bangalore, engaged in technology development, promotion, training etc., related to wood based materials, looking at the situation in Match Stick industry sector, came out with the process for manufacturing Bamboo Splints suitable for match sticks.  The technology has been scientifically demonstrated and match sticks have been manufactured and the technology is available for transfer. Bamboo Splints have high tensile strength (strength when the object is subjected to tension) and do not break easily. Post incandescent treatment is given to prevent after glow for match splint with boric acid which also offers good resistance to borer attack.  Simple hand operated machines also are available for manufacturing Agarabatti sticks.

Any bamboo species, having a minimum wall thickness of 4-6 mm, with a minimum inter nodal distance of 15 cm can be used for making match splints and Agarabatti sticks. Long sticks for fire cracker industry, require a longer inter nodal distance or species which can be cut into reasonably straighter sticks over the length of the final product. Broadly any bamboo which is reasonably tough to withstand the tangential (force perpendicular to the length) load while lighting a match stick is suitable.
Bamboo Slats and Strips: By its very nature Bamboo is a pole and hence cylindrical. Converting this cylindrical body in the shape of slats and strips and gluing these slats and strips together creates tremendous potential for converting its shape to any other shape. This opens up a totally new opportunity of using Bamboo in many other applications. Such applications that are presently being experimented are in the furniture industry, laminates, tiles etc.
Similarly closely woven Bamboo mats can be glued together and compressed into Matboard which has wide applications in furniture, interior decoration and false roofing etc. Bamboo slats can also be used for Venetian blinds.

Traditional furniture is wooden, though Cane is a known raw material for furniture making. Of late metallic and molded furniture are appearing in the market. But these do not match the wooden and cane furniture in terms of elegance and durability. The case being made out here is to convert Bamboo poles into strips and glue them together to manufacture Bamboo wood for its use in furniture industry. The variety of furniture products to be manufactured, will include Chairs, Sofas, Centre Table, Stools with / without cushions, Paper Racks, Shelves, Cloth storage racks etc., different interior & exterior utility articles and pre-fabricated structures (for roofing applications, interior designing, exhibition stalls etc.).

There is a definite value addition in manufacturing furniture from bamboo wood. While the expected value addition in converting bamboo pole into a flooring tile is 8 times (a pole of Rs. 10/- can be converted into a flooring tile worth Rs.80/-), converting bamboo laminate into furniture will have at least 4 to 5 times thereon. Converting bamboo wood / laminates / sections into furniture, has already been demonstrated by National Institute of Design (NID), through imported laminates. The prepared furniture was well appreciated by trading and user community. These designs are available for commercialization and there is no dearth of expertise for developing new designs.

Any Bamboo with wall thickness of 4 to 6 mm is suitable for this purpose. While the most suited is Bambusa bambus, Dendrocalamus strictus can also be used (especially the bottom 2 meter length of poles in the girth class of 15 cm and above) for this purpose. The furniture manufacturer need to look at the direction in which bamboo strips are joined together while making the wood, while cutting the bamboo wood into sections for ensuring a quality product. While the surface finish can be achieved through external polishing and varnishing the grain structure will remain as given by the wood manufacturer. Bamboo wood, which is qualitatively superior to other woods, without problems of warping, termite/borer attack and which will be cheaper than any quality woods like teak, pine etc. finds a suitable place in the furniture industry. Because of the existing wood working skills and due to the ease of working with bamboo wood, furniture with international designs, is expected to have a good demand.  Being a new product and not yet a matured line of activity, there is enough latent market and huge opportunity for new entrepreneurs to exploit. Furniture from Bamboo wood needs to be considered as a unique product which  can be compared with other wooden furniture for its weight, luster and grain structure and be  given more rating, it being from ‘Green’ material i.e. material derived from a natural and fast grown species and thus helps in preserving the precious forest timber resources.

Furniture from Bamboo PoleBamboo in the form of pole can be used as a material in manufacturing furniture and furniture components. Bamboo pole furniture making is not an established industrial activity. However a few NGOs and individual bamboo artisans are working in this area.  Vedha of Nagpur, Apuroop Nirman of Nagpur, Logasree Creations of Hyderabad, National Institute of Design of Ahmedabad, and couple of manufacturers North Eastern region are manufacturing and promoting Bamboo furniture. Bamboo is easily available, cheap and procurement is easy when compared to teak, pinewood or any other variety of wood available in the market. With improved designs coupled with techniques for preservation, finishing etc., the furniture made from bamboo, though in certain pockets of the country, has been accepted in the market.  Being a new product, there is enough latent market and huge opportunity to exploit.
Bamboo Handicrafts: Manufacturing of handicrafts from various materials, be it from a metal or stone or wood or wax, is a traditional activity, practiced largely in rural India. Bamboo is one of such material for making hand made products. In India, bamboo handicrafts are made prominently in North East region.  Over a period of time, people from other parts of the country have also learnt and innovated the art of making handicrafts from bamboo and are able to sell it in the markets. There is a good export market and efforts should be made to make products to certain design standards and specifications to suit the overseas markets. In India, handful of NGOs and societies like Apuroop Nirman (Nagpur), Vedha (Nagpur), Logasree Creations (Hyderabad) and number of manufacturers cum trainers from North Eastern region have been promoting manufacturing and marketing of bamboo handicrafts, primarily for domestic markets. Institutions like Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute (IPIRTI), International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR - New Delhi),  Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC), National Institute of Design (NID- Ahmedabad), Centre for Indian Bamboo Resources and Technology (CIBART), Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay, Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC-Gauhati) etc., drawing the support of state and central governments and international agencies are working in this area.  The Development Commissioner Handicrafts of the Government of India largely coordinates these activities.

V. The Andhra Pradesh Bamboo Mission

As has been elaborated, the state of Andhra Pradesh accounts for about 7.4% of area and about 10% of production of Bamboo in India. But the diversity of Bamboo is limited as most of the Bamboo is Dendrocalamus strictus with little area under Bambusa bambus and Dendrocalamus hamiltonii.  Further there are nearly 500 Vana Samrakshana Samithies having access to Bamboo with full rights over the usufruct located mostly in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Khammam and Adilabad districts. Nearly 25,000 families of these VSSs depend exclusively on Bamboo for livelihoods. In addition 425 societies of Bamboo workers with membership of 20,000 families also known as Buroods depend on Bamboo for livelihoods. Thus a comprehensive action plan to link resource use to enhancement of livelihoods for these families with all required backward and forward linkages is the vision of the “Andhra Pradesh Bamboo Mission”. This chapter deals with the rationale of this mission and outlines the various activities that are necessary to ensure the organic linkage envisaged above.

Utilization of Bamboo Resources: As has been elaborated in the earlier chapters, the present pattern of utilization of Bamboos in Andhra Pradesh is for paper and pulp industry and for handicrafts and domestic use mostly through Buroods. Almost all the supplies for these two sectors are met by the Forest Department from its Bamboo forests. The VSSs though have a sizable production potential, are relatively new entrants into the scene and qualitatively and quantitatively are yet to make their presence felt. For the new utilities elaborated in chapter IV supply chain is yet to establish. These deal with use of Bamboo mats for manufacture of Mat boards, use of Bamboo strips and slats for manufacturing Bamboo for furniture and other applications, use of Bamboo sticks in the Agarabatti and fire cracker industry etc. There is now a necessity to develop a supply chain commensurate with the value chain analysis of   the existing and emerging utilities of Bamboo.   It is in this regards that there is an urgent need not only to enhance quantitative production of Bamboos but also to upgrade the quality of Bamboos.  The existing Bamboo of Dendrocalamus strictus is suitable largely for pulp requirement of the paper industry and to meet the requirement of sticks for Agarabati Industry and for the fire crackers.  Only about 25-30% of this Bamboo is suitable for sliving for mat weaving industry and for making slats for further conversion to wood for furniture for use in any other applications. 

The approach is to link all the players engaged in the production of bamboo with suitable consumers and marketers.  Considering the quality and the quantity of bamboo requirement different supply strategies are suggested to meet the requirement of end users.  Supply of Bamboo for the paper and pulp industry will be met from the forests managed by the forest department. To the extent of use of Bamboo mats for domestic use and limited industrial use, the buroods will supply mats they weave from the bamboo supplied to them by the forest department at prefixed rates.  The  supply of bamboo raw material for the stick and strip based activity will be met from the forest managed by the VSS.  The present quantity and quality of bamboos produced from the forests managed by the VSSs would be suitable to meet the requirement of the stick based industries like the Agarabati industry and the fire cracker industry.  For supply of bamboos slats for manufacturing wood for furniture applications, new species of bamboos will have to be cultivated and new cultivation practices will have to be standardized and adopted. The  requirement for the handicrafts will be met partly by the broods from their supplies by the forest department and also directly by the forest department and from the bamboos grown from the forests of the VSSs.             
In view of the above, the present proposal is limited to defining and describing the role of VSSs in the entire scheme of things. 

Productivity Enhancement of Bamboo from VSS forests:  Out of the total area of 1.85 million ha under management of VSSs, roughly 10 % is bamboo bearing area. In addition to this, about 6,000 ha of plantations of bamboo have been raised in the VSS forests by converting non bamboo bearing scrub growth. The production potential of these forest and plantations need special attention for enhancement.  Activities like fire protection, soil and moisture conservation, saucer weeding, soil working and mounding are the recommended field operations.  In addition to these, another 6000 ha will be planted after high quality site preparation and using at least 2 year old bamboo rhizomes.  In addition to these measures, under planting of bamboo in natural and suitable gaps created on account of silvicultural thinnings in natural teak and non teak miscellaneous forests and teak plantations will also be taken up  over an area of 50,000 ha. In the afforestation programe suitable exotic bamboo spices like Dendrocalamus asper, Bambusa bambus, Bambusa balcoa, Bambusa nutans etc will also be introducedinitially on an experimental basis over an area of 5 ha per species in 4 to 5 different locations. Based on their performance areas under their plantations will be enlarged.
Demonstration Centres: In the state of Andhra Pradesh, there is a systematic effort made for development and transfer of technology. The Forest Department has established 14 Technology Dissemination Centres with adequate infrastructure and training facilities. Out of these the Centres at Rajahundry, Jannaram, Visakhapatnam and Paloncha will be used as centres for demonstration of all possible applications of Bamboo and will be developed as centres for training, extension and outreach. In these centres demonstration plots of exotic species will be raised in addition to small extents of plantation of indigenous Bamboo species using modern planting techniques. These centers will be equipped with machinery and equipment needed for primary and secondary processing of Bamboo and treatment plants to demonstrate technology of treating Bamboo poles for enhancing their longevity. These centres will also be developed as centres for providing common facility for primary processing of Bamboo poles to nearby VSSs. They will also have museum facilities to exhibit technology and various Bamboo products that are possible. These will also have facility for using the Bamboo waste for generating energy for local use.

Establishment of Growth Centres in VSS Villages: In the next phase technology development will be taken to VSS villages. As already stated major Bamboo bearing forests and potential Bamboo plantations are in Adilabad, Visakhapatnam, Khammam, East Godavari, Kadapa and Kurnool areas. Development of growth centres will be taken up in 8 places in the 5 districts covering the entire Bamboo zone. In Visakhapatnam, these centres will be developed at Narsipatnam and Srungavarapukota, in Adilabad they will be in Asifabad and Kagaznagar, in Khammam they will be in Chintoor and Sattupalli, in Kadapa it will be in Porumamilla and in East Godavari it will be in Rampachodavaram. These centres will be located either in a major VSS village or in a place with requisite infrastructure and will be attached to the nearest TDC for hand holding till they establish completely.  These growth centres will have common facility centres in the form of work sheds, machinery for primary processing for strip, slat and stick based utilities and will be service providers to all VSSs in their neighborhood. They will also have facility for using Bamboo wastage for generating energy for local use. They will also have appropriate treatment plants for processing Bamboo poles to enhance shelf life of the products.
Development of Satellite VSS Villages for Bamboo Enterprises: Around each Demonstration Centre (TDC) and Growth Centre around 20 to 25 VSSs will be developed as satellite villages engaging in primary processing and depending on the growth centres for technical, storage and market support. These are VSSs with Bamboo resources either from their natural forests or from plantations raised by them. These will be engaged in cultivation, conservation harvesting, processing and value addition of Bamboos and will depend on growth centres for market support. They will however be organized as cooperative societies to provide stability to their efforts.

Handicraft Centres: Handicrafts are basically traditional skilled arts of certain communities. Bamboo based handicrafts in the context of Andhra Pradesh are practiced mostly by Buroods and certain tribal communities like Kolams, Naikpods and Mannes. It is very difficult to implant this art in new communities. Therefore development of handicrafts through new designs and improving finesse and quality of the work are better attempted in areas and with communities who traditionally have the skills. From this point of view the TDC at Jannaram which is in the Kolam belt will be developed as Bamboo handicraft hub.  Similarly the Growth Centre at Kagaznagar will be developed into a furniture unit in addition to making Agarabatti sticks and sticks for fire crackers.

Mobile Processing Facilities: The growth centres, apart from being equipped with machinery needed for primary processing, will also be service providers in the form of providing sliving and stripping facilities to dependent satellite villages who can undertake mat weaving. For this purpose they will maintain mobile sliving units which will be shifted from village to village depending on the need.

Institution Development:  A three tier co-operative society is envisaged to implement this road map. The co-operative societies will be registered under the cooperative act and will function in accordance with byelaws to be developed. Institution details are furnished below:  

Primary Bamboo Cooperative Societies: These will be Range level societies comprising of all VSS member actively engaged in Bamboo based activities. Not all the VSS members are engaged in Bamboo based activities and as such it is necessary to segregate Bamboo workers from among VSS members, and organize them into societies. To begin with these primary cooperative societies will be developed around the 8 growth centres and 4 Demonstration centres. Centre wise list of such societies is given below:

Demonstration/Growth centres

Name of Society (Range names)

Demonstration centre, Jannaram

Tallapet including Jannaram, Indanpalli, including Birsaipet, Kadam, Luxettipet

Demonstration centre, Paloncha

Paloncha, Amararam including Kuknoor,

Demonstration centre, Rajahmundry

Yeleshwaram, Gokavaram

Demonstration centre, Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam, Chodavaram

Growth centre Asifabad

Asifabad, Tiriyani, Bellampalli

Growth centre Kagaznagar

Sirpur, Kagaznagar

Growth centre Rampachodavaram

Rampachodavaram, Addathigala

Growth centre Srungavarapukota

Anantagiri, Vizianagaram

Growth centre Narsipatnam

Narsipatnam, KD Peta including Maripakala, Chintapalli including Lothugedda, Sileru including RV Nagar

Growth centre Chintoor

Moothugudem, Chintoor

Growth centre Sattupalli

Ashwaraopet, Sattupalli including Bayyaram

Growth centre Porumamilla

Porumamilla, Rudravaram

Byelaws for these societies will be developed separately.

Federations: These societies federate at Demonstration centre and Growth centre level. Thus we will have 12 federations which are essentially Division level federations. They will be located at Jannaram, Asifabad, Kagaznagar, Rajahmundry, Rampachodavaram, Visakhapatnam, Srungavarapukota, Narsipatnam, Sathupalli, Paloncha, Chintoor and Porumamilla. These federations are meant for leveraging the efforts of all members of the primary cooperative societies and make efforts to sustain the technical and market support to them and help in accessing financial support for further development. Byelaws for these federations will be developed separately.

The AP Bamboo Society: This will be an apex organization with headquarters at Hyderabad. It will be a federation at apex level with selected members from each of the primary societies and divisional level federations and will be responsible for overall planning and implementation of activities, accessing financial, technical and market support and arranging training and extension and research inputs. Byelaws for this will also be developed separately.

Support from other institutions:
Forest Department: Forest Department being the custodian of the forest resources on Government’s behalf has a crucial role to play. Continuity of policy on Community Forest Management is a commitment that the Forest Department will have to keep up. Apart from permitting access to Bamboo resources, Forest Department will be closely associated with research, training and extension, regulating use of resources, facilitating hand holding to VSSs, developing and equipping TDCs and Growth centres, networking with various other institutions etc.

INBAR, Delhi: The International Network on Bamboo and Rattan has its headquarters at Beijing, China with an office at Delhi. It is a premier organization that has networked various institutions, industries, producers and service providers working on Bamboo by bringing all on to a common platform. It is involved in development of technology and extension in all aspects dealing with Bamboo.  This institute’s facilities and expertise will be of vital importance in accomplishing the road map to Bamboo in Andhra Pradesh.

NMBA, Delhi: The National Mission on Bamboo applications with office at Delhi is a Government India’s initiative to bring in a fillip to Bamboo based activities in India from all angles including policy development, widening and enhancing production base, value addition, enterprise development, marketing etc. This mission provides financial and technical support in all these aspects. The excellent networking of service providers and information system developed by this mission will be crucial and significant input in realizing the objectives of the instant approach of Andhra Pradesh.

APTDC, Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh Technology Development and Promotion Centre is an associate of the Confederation of Indian Industries. Among other things this organization provides consultancy services for technology development and promotion including Bamboo technologies. This organization has been working very closely with the Forest Department in developing this road map. Their services will be utilized in its implementation as well.

IPIRTI, Bangalore: The Indian Plywood Industrial Research and Training Centre located at Bangalore is a premier institute as far as development of industrial applications of various forest products including Bamboo. They have designed and standardized a number of machines for splitting, knot removal, sliving, plaining, pressing etc. that are now being manufactured elsewhere in India. This institute is an excellent centre for training Bamboo industrialists and workers and the facility available here will be utilized in training VSS members in primary processing. The machines developed by this institute will be used for equipping the TDCs and Growth centres.

IWST, Bangalore: The Institute of Wood Sciences and Technology located at Bangalore is an institute of the Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education involved in development and dissemination of wood technology. They have developed expertise in preservation and processing of timber including Bamboo for enhancing longevity and shelflife of the products and thereby reduce pressure on forests. This institute has a campus in Hyderabad near Dullapalli. Expertise available with this organization will be utilized for setting up of treatment plants in the TDCs and Growth Centres as common facilities and for training and demonstration.  

NID Ahmedabad: The National Designs Institute at Ahmedabad, Gujarath uis a premier institute in development of designs. This institute has designed high quality Bamboo furniture that have export potential. Most of this furniture is based on Bamboo poles and are eco-friendly and fully recyclable. This institute has trained a number of craftsmen who can impart training to selected VSS members in furniture craft. Training facilities available in this institute will be used in training master craftsmen from among VSS members. The growth centre at Asifabad/Kagaznagar will be the centre for this activity.

Indian Institute of Technology,  Mumbai: The design development wing and the Chemical engineering wings of IIT Bombay have designed and developed appropriate tools for use in handicraft development and in converting Bamboo waste into activated carbon. These applications are now commercially available for adoption.  These developments will be utilized to the advantage of VSSs.

Development Commissioner, Handicrafts: Development Commissionerate of handicrafts is an organization of the Government of India involved in development and promotion of handicrafts. This organization provides financial, technical and market support and does excellent networking. In the area of Bamboo, they have been providing support in Tripura. Their schemes and facilities will be utilized in the handicraft and furniture centres being developed at TDC Jannaram and Growth centre at Kagaznagar. 

NGOs working on Bamboo: TERI, The Energy Research Institute is a Delhi based NGO involved in technology development and research on Bamboo. Their expertise in developing protocols for tissue culture of exotics of Bamboo and package of practices developed by them for productivity enhancement of bamboo forests and plantations will be of immense use in the present venture. Some of the other NGOs working on Bamboo are Vedha, a Nagpur based NGO involved in Bamboo based handicrafts and furniture, Logashree Creations, Hyderabad working again on furniture and handicrafts. Their expertise will be utilized in training craftsmen among VSS members.

Budget support: An amount of Rs. 1004.16 million is needed for implementing these initiatives. Details are attached. Budgeting is done for developing infrastructure at all the 12 centres (4 TDCs and 12 GCs) and fully equipping them. These will cater to needs of 300 VSSs. Budgeting is also on the assumption of providing support to 15 families in each of these VSSs with hand operated equipment, training and market support.

Infrastructure support: Worksheds of 100 ft X 40 ft or 4000 sft will be provided at all the 12 centres for workspace, storage and to house equipment and Bamboo. 

Machinery and Equipment: List of machines that will be provided at each of these centres is:

  • Treatment plant
  • Cross cutting machnes
  • Splitting machines
  • Slivering machinery
  • Mobile slivers
  • Internal knot removal machines
  • Two side & four side planning machines
  • Round stick making machinery
  • Saw sharpening machinery
  • Generators ( 30 KW)
  • Machinery for making Venetian blinds
  • Power looms for weaving curtains etc.
  • Other misc., machnes for furniture mfg., etc
  • Hand operated gadgets / jigs / fixtures etc., for 300 VSS communities, for splitting bamboos into  slivers for mats, sticks, splints etc

Training Support: These 11 centres having infrastructure and trained manpower will train rest of the VSS members in processing of bamboo into various forms as desired by the markets. The training will be imparted for a period of 5 days per batch and all the VSS groups needing training will be covered over a period of one year.
Market Support: Identification of pool of potential buyers and sustaining the supplies of the produce through an established and reliable market linkages is the requirement. Efforts are already made for establishing market linkages for supply of processed bamboos i.e. split bamboo to blinds making units, sticks for agarbathi and fire cracker industries, splints for match stick manufacturing industries, woven mats for Bamboo Mat and Bamboo Mat Corrugated sheets manufacturers. The communities area already in receipt of trial orders for all the above products. 
Linkage to Industrial Development: For promoting bamboo based industries in the state of Andhra Pradesh, assured supplies of Bamboo Mats & Bamboo Slats with certain dimentional and technological specifications are required and towards this Bamboo depots will be established, which will be managed and run by these 12 centres by the federated societies. To begin with these centres and VSSs will be tied up with Agarabatti and firecracker industries that have sizable demand. In addition to this, training in handicrafts and furniture making will commence duly coordinating with the Development Commissioner, Handicrafts and utilizing the expertise available with NGOs like Vedha of Nagpur and the NID Ahmedabad. In course of time when the 12 centres mentioned above get equipped, other activities of sliving, mat weaving, slat making etc will commence duly tying with respective industries. Discussions will be held with Ply wood manufacturers and furniture industries located within Andhra Pradesh and in neighboring states in this regard.