Bambusa allamii and Himalayacalamus hookerianus: An alternative to Yula

Cane and bamboo play an integral role in supporting livelihood of people at Bjoka Gewog, Zhemgang. More than 90% of the households in the Gewog use these resources for handicrafts and contribute to 66% of household income. Recognising its importance, Bjoka Gongphel Tsarzo Tshogpa (group) was formed in the Gewog with an aim to increase household cash income and to manage resources in sustainable manner. The setting up of this group enabled the members to readily sell their products but faced with challenges of proper resource management as planned. Intensive collection followed by flowering of yula (Neomicrocalamus andropogonifolius) in many areas has raised a concern for the sustainability of handicraft work which has direct impact on household income.

Most bamboo species can be used for making functional household and craft articles. However, yula is suitable for production of intrinsically patterned containers known as Bangchung, Lakchung, Baikur and Zemthrachem. Handicraft making is a lifeline for majority households in Bjoka and lives of Bjokapas are unimaginable without this activity. Considering these problems, the Social Forestry and Extension Division in collaboration with Research Center, Bhur has introduced two different bamboo species at Bjoka. The main aim of introducing these bamboo species is to substitute or supplement yula requirement for production of handicraft. These species were introduced during recent bamboo propagation training conducted in the Gewog.

In order to ensure appropriateness of our technology, test was conducted on following criteria; 1) splitting 2) flexibility 3) softness during weaving 4) colour diffusion and 4) product quality. The participants responded that both the species (Bambusa alamii and Himalayacalamus hookerianus) could be used for weaving Bangchung but the product quality is better of Himalayacalamus spp as it has better colour diffusion and luster. However, Bambusa alamii can be used to weave more variety of products due to longer internodes.

Picture below are Bangchung woven from different bamboo species:

Himalayacalamus hookerianus
Himalayacalamus hookerianus

Bambusa alamii
Bambusa alamii

 

-Contributed by Tshewang Dorji (SFED), Norbu Gyelthsen (RDC, Bhur, Gelephu)

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