Bamboo is not a Tree: Meeting with the National Bamboo Mission

Date: 28th January 2019

We met with Dr Alka Bhargava, Director, National Bamboo Mission and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, on 28th January to understand the enduring gaps in the regulation of bamboo cultivation and trade in India and the impact of the recent 2017 amendment to the Forest Rights Act that declared bamboo to be a grass, not a tree. Dr Bhargava highlighted the immense potential of the sector to transform livelihood opportunities for forest-dwelling marginalised communities and the lack of awareness among both, cultivators and investors as the fundamental factor deterring investments in the sector.

The 2017 amendment has been a big win for our ongoing efforts to free up the regulatory regime for furthering bamboo-based livelihoods in the country. Through our 'Bamboo is not a Tree' campaign, we had advocated for a change in the classification of bamboo from a 'tree' to a 'grass' recognising that the classification of bamboo as a tree had made the resource inaccessible. We have also published a comprehensive study on the state of bamboo regulation in India. Through our continuing advocacy efforts, we seek to showcase human interest stories of change and improved livelihoods made possible by the amendment.

Read more about our work for easing regulatory barriers to bamboo-based livelihoods here.