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Marketing of bamboo (Bambusa bambos) in South India

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Bamboo production in home gardens far exceeds the production from forests in Kerala State, India. Forest bamboo is exclusively being consumed by the paper mill in the State. Although bamboo from home gardens is being utilised by growers themselves or purchased directly by users, most of the bamboo (Bambusa bambos) is being marketed through a few private depots based in Palakkad District in the State. The market study reveals that those bamboo depots are well established and have been operating as a unique wholesale market in South India since 1960. Over the years, about 85% of the annual quantity traded through the depots has been moving out of the State. The steady retail markets are in different places in Tamil Nadu and other States in South India. Market analysis shows that the wholesale price of bamboo during 2002 was US$ 73 per tonne green weight. Of the wholesale price, farm price accounted for 40%, harvesting and other marketing costs 46%, and net margins of the intermediary and wholesaler 14%. The farm price of US$ 29 per tonne, the net income received by an average bamboo grower, indicates relatively fair returns even from poorly managed clumps. The net annual profit of an average wholesaler of US$ 7600 during 2002 is also modest, considering the goodwill created and markets served. Retailers are being attracted to Palakkad for bulk purchase of bamboo mainly due to the existence of the wholesale market. Such marketing advantage needs to be exploited by bamboo growers for enhancing their farm income through resource development in home gardens and thereby sustainable availability of bamboo to the depots. Therefore, there is an urgent need to popularise among growers a package of practices for improved management of bamboo clumps in home gardens and disseminate marketing information. This package will improve resource, ensure sustainable availability and enhance farm income as well as rural employment.


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