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Commercial edible bamboo species of the North-Eastern Himalayan Region, India. Part I: young shoot sales

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This paper reports the results on some commercially available edible bamboo species of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura states of the North-Eastern Himalayan (NEH) region. On average, out of 349 market places, 141 markets covering 2081 primary and secondary vendors were surveyed and interviewed to understand the major edible bamboo species, their sales on markets and cost–benefit analysis of tender bamboo shoots. Bambusa balcooa Roxb., B. polymorpha Munro in Trans., B. tulda Roxb., Dendrocalamus giganteus Munro in Trans., D. hamiltonii Nees et. Arn, D. hookerii Munro in Trans., D. longispathus Kurz, D. membranaceus Munro in Trans., D. sikkimensis Gamble, Gigantochloa rostrata Wong in Malay., Melocanna baccifera (Roxb.) Kurz, Phyllostachys bambusoides Sieb., Schizostachyum dullooa Gamble, Teinostachyum wightii Beddome and two unidentified spp., Chingwa and Khupri, have been found as commercial edible bamboo species in these tribal states. These edible species are also cultivated in home gardens in addition to their harvest from forests. Edible shoots are harvested from the first week of June to the third week of September every year for sales. However, market days varied from state to state and even from place to place within the state, with an average of 84, 84, 53, 81, 76 and 42 days/year, respectively, in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. On average, 1979, 2188, 442, 433, 442 and 201 tons of bamboo shoots are harvested for consumption annually, accordingly in the same states. The primary species harvested for young shoots was D. hamiltonii (ca. 1859 ton/year), followed by D. giganteus (ca. 1094 ton/year), D. sikkimensis (ca. 1079 ton/year), M. baccifera (ca. 647 ton/year), D. hookerii (ca. 326 ton/year) and B. balcooa (ca. 272 ton/year), irrespective of states surveyed. Significant (P = 0.05) variations have been recorded for sales of edible species in different states. Genus Dendrocalamus accounted for 77% of the total sales of bamboo shoots in the region. In regards to diversity of edible species, a maximum of eight species have been observed in Manipur, followed by Tripura (6 spp.), and Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland (5 spp. in both states). Among species, D. hamiltonii and M. baccifera were the most common species sold, and were found in almost all the states. Significant (P = 0.05) variations have been recorded for shoot length, basal diameter of young shoots and shoot weight among species. Shoot length and basal diameter was greatest for D. giganteus and lowest for T. wightii. Shoot weight was greatest for D. giganteus (1.8 kg/shoot) and lowest for S. dullooa (0.05 kg/shoot). Cost–benefit analysis for young bamboo shoots has also been estimated. The gross income was calculated to be (in million Rs. per year) ca. 11.95 (US$ 261 290), 8.56 (US$ 187 110), 2.56 (US$ 56 470), 1.97 (US$ 42 990), 1.61 (US$ 35 100) and 1.31 (US$ 28 700), respectively, in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. Thus, accordingly rural communities could earn net revenues of (million Rs.) 8.86 (US$ 193 740), 5.69 (US$ 124 410), 1.78 (US$ 38 950), 1.14 (US$ 24 900), 0.58 (US$ 12 730) and 0.75 (US$ 16 940) in these states by selling young edible bamboo shoots. On average, D. hamiltonii, D. hookerii, D. sikkimensis, D. giganteus, M. baccifera, P. bambusoides and B. balcooa, contributed 33, 18, 16, 14, 8, 5 and 3% to total earned revenue, irrespective of the states. Genus Dendrocalamus alone supplemented 81% to total revenue and the remainder was contributed by other genera. In addition to their food value, these species also play very important role in the life of tribal folk, particularly in the provision of materials for various day-to-day needs, as well as for paper-pulp industries.


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