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Tripura explores bamboo shoot business

Biswendu Bhattacharjee

Although environmentalists are against consumption of bamboo shoots, Tripura Bamboo Mission (TBM) has undertaken packaging of shoots for a palatable dish in posh hotels of India and abroad.

To ensure employment generation in the integrated development of the Bamboo sector and economic development through available bamboo resources, bamboo shoots have a good market capability worldwide, TBM officials claim.

It has focus on commercialization of bamboo shoots. The abundance of availability of bamboo is a good reason to pursue the line of activity given the new found fondness of the Indian consumer palate.

The effort has been undertaken to scale up packing bamboo shoots, which is already being conducted in an informal manner in Tripura. To develop technology based applications of bamboo and establish viable enterprises engaged in the production of high value added bamboo based products in the state, which has already been acclaimed globally.

Referring to market opportunity of bamboo shoots, Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury opines that the mission is in the process of establishing an effective collection mechanism from the field and linking to storage and bulk packaging facility can open up market opportunities. To begin, a small scale production facility could be set up that demands an investment of Rs. 35,000 towards equipment which can operate from home location.

This system of production will deploy basic cleaning, cutting/chopping and packaging facility capable of bulk packaging of bamboo shoots.

“These bulk packs can be shipped out to food processing units in other parts of the country through a consolidator's intervention, assuming a margin of Rs 5-6 per kg that can be achieved through this route the unit has the ability to be viable at a low scale,” Chowdhury points out.

The second production mechanism could be a scaled up facility capable of processing 40 MT of shoots given the 90 day for harvesting season where processing of other fruits would help justify a larger investment though such unit will be more capital intensive at Rs 7-8 lakh investment and is advisable to be pursued afterwards.

A bamboo shoot processing unit is already operational in Agartala selling products under a brand name in which NERAMAC is also involved through its distribution efforts. In any case it makes eminent sense to establish a formalized collection system if only to feed the existent unit at Agartala to begin with. This would comprise storage and a networked system of procurement at the community level connected to a manufacturer.

Minister however states that Tripura Industrial Policy and the Industrial investment promotion scheme 2007, announced by the state government have identified bamboo as principal non-timber forest produce of Tripura.

The Government has set up a State of Art, Bamboo Park with an estimated investment of Rs 50 Cr with the common facilities that comprises of production processes generic to the enterprises, business development platforms, product development & training centers.

“Tripura is best positioned to lead the bamboo sector in the country on account of the rich bamboo resources available in the state and the large skill base of people who are adept in the various aspects handling of bamboo besides, encouraging private investment by offering an attractive incentive for enterprises,” Chowdhury adds.

 Biswendu Bhattacharjee is a journalist working for national media. He is based in Agartala, capital of Tripura state.


Jute parks in Assam

By Mumtaz Mazumdar
Jute or mestha is a bio-degradable vegetable fibre and produces eco-friendly natural product. Following cotton, jute is the cheapest and a significant fibre among all textile fibres. It is expected that replacing poisonous polythene-bags use can be best done by jute bags. The Jute Industry occupies an important place in the national economy. Jute is one of the major industries in the eastern region, particularly in West Bengal.

Outside the nation, jute products are largely in demand by many countries. India is in tie with many of them. For example Ghana which is world's second biggest cocoa grower and its economy depends on cocoa exports needs jute bags as inevitable in the packaging cocoa. After 1960s, jute craze in India
had gone down. It was particularly down when it was realized that most of the jute-growing lands have remained in Bangladesh.

Today the Indian government is determined to revive the jute industry of the country. During the Tenth Five Year plan period, the National Jute Policy, National Jute Board Bill as well as Jute Technology Mission with an outlay of Rs. 355.5 crore have been approved by the Government in respect of the
jute sector. The Government of India has launched “Jute Technology Mission (JTM)” with effect from 2007-08, spanning a period of 5 years (11th Five Year Plan Period), for overall development of the Jute Industry in the country and promotion of jute and jute products at home and abroad. JTM provides
for “Setting up of Jute Parks for the Diversified Sector”.

The Union Textile Ministry has decided to set up 9 jute parks. The minimum land requirement for establishing Jute Parks in N.E. States and other Tribal Areas was fixed at 10 acres land. For setting up Jute Parks in NE States the subsidy fixed is 90%. Presently, Silchar has been successful in entire north-
east in getting itself allotted with one in 2010.

The one at Silchar is named as Assam Golden Fibre Jute Park Private Limited. It is exactly located at a village named Shantipur in Narsingpur area of Cachar district. It is 22 kms away from Silchar. It is a public-private entrepreneurship. The raw materials are presently provided from Bihar and West Bengal. The inception of the park has made the people of the vicinity very happy.

It has already started generating employment for the youth of this industrially backward district of Assam. Presently it is engaged in training the desirable youth in manufacturing and supplying jute bags, jute sandals / shoes, jute particle boards, jute curtains, jute carpets and others. The products are all eco-friendly. The rural area is showing fast signs of progress and is expected to expand as a wing of the city.

The Park is on the verge of setting up as many stalls as possible all around Silchar. It is also preparing to use the jute in n geo-textiles, paper-making and even in soil-management and road construction in future. It is under the dynamic leadership of a young qualified engineer of 27 years of Silchar, named Shahir Javed Mazumdar who is the CEO of the prestigious jute park. The Park has already started getting handsome orders from all over the country. It shows a very bright future. The Park seems a boon for the people of north-east region. June 2011
Mumtaz Mazumdar is a writer / author based in Silchar, Assam

Spices exports see rise during 2010-11

During April-January 2010-11, a total of 433,455 tonnes of spices and spice products valued Rs.5485.40 crores (US$1203.30 Million) has been exported from the country as against 413,895 tonnes valued Rs. 4646.50 crores (US$ 974.57 Million) in April-January 2009-10 registering an increase of 5% in volume and 18% in rupee terms of value. In dollar terms the increase is 23%.

During April-January 2010-11, the export of chilli, ginger, fennel, garlic and other spices such as asafoetida, tamarind etc. has shown an increase both in volume and value as compared to April-January 2009-10. The export of value added product spice oils and oleoresin and curry powder/paste had also shown an increasing trend as compared to April-January 2009-10. However, in the case of pepper, cardamom (large), turmeric and mint products the increase is in terms of value only. Other spices like cardamom (small), coriander, cumin, celery, fenugreek, other seeds and nutmeg &mace have decreased both in terms of volume and value as compared to last year.  

During April-January 2010-11, a total quantity of 15,700 tonnes of pepper valued Rs.307.47 crores have been exported as against 16,295 tonnes valued Rs.269.36 crores in last year. The unit value of pepper has increased from Rs.159.15 per kg in 2009-10 to Rs.195.84 per kg during 2010-11. During April - January 2010-11, a total quantity of 780 tonnes of cardamom (Small) valued Rs. 91.19 crores as against 1540 tonnes valued Rs.120.89 crores of last year. In the case of cardamom (Small) the unit value has increased from Rs.784.80 per Kg in 2009-10 to Rs.1169.07 per kg in 2010-11. During the period a total quantity of 200,000 tonnes of  chilli valued Rs. 1255.52 crores have been exported as against 1,63,750 tonnes valued Rs. 1056.67 crores of last year, registering an increase of 22% in quantity and 19% in value. During April- January 2010-11 we have exported 10,500 tonnes of ginger valued Rs. 64.54 crores as against 4,650 tonnes valued Rs.36.68crores of last year. During the period, the export of spice oils and oleoresins has also increased to 6,000 tonnes valued Rs.729.02crores from 5,725 tonnes valued Rs.600.99 crores in last year. During April- January 2010-11 we have exported 12,250 tonnes of currypowder/paste valued Rs. 164.58 crores as against 12,000 tonnes valued Rs.158.78 crores of last year.

The export of spices from India during April- January 2010-11 has already exceeded the target in terms of value both in rupee and dollar terms. Compared to the spices export target of 465,000 tonnes valued Rs.5100.00 crores (US$1125 million) fixed for the financial year 2010-11, the achievement of 433,455 tonnes valued Rs.5485.40 crores (US$ 1203.30 million) during April-January 2010-11 is 93% in terms of quantity and 108 % in rupee value and 107% in dollar terms of value.       

Source: Spices Board  

March 2011

Sustainable raise in fish making in Nagaland

By Watimenla
Great potential exists for expanding the State's fisheries sector due to varied and unique fisheries resources in the form of negligibly utilized and unutilized water resources namely ponds/tanks, wet terrace fields, lakes and reservoirs, swampy/marshy areas, streams and rivers etc. Special efforts have been made through

Read more: Sustainable raise in fish making in Nagaland

Laos to explore trade in northeast India

Mithu Choudhury in Guwahati
An interactive meeting was held in Guwahati in December last between the Assam Chamber of Commerce (ACC) and the Laos Indian Chamber of Commerce (LICC) to open up new vistas of trade and understanding. The Chairman of the LICC, Habib Md Choudhury, who is himself a son of Assam, was present on the occasion.  

Read more: Laos to explore trade in northeast India