Guwahati, Monday, April 16, 2012
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Meghalaya exploring tie-up with Belgian company
Raju Das
 SHILLONG, April 15 – Meghalaya Government is exploring a tie up with a Belgium-based company Oprins, to “introduce innovative practices,” in bamboo production.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma who attended the 9th World Bamboo Congress at Antwerp, Belgium recently also paid a visit to Oprins’ bamboo tissue culture laboratory located at Rijkevorsel village, close to the Netherlands border.

The laboratory is the biggest bamboo tissue culture laboratory in the world. “Though located in a region where bamboo does not grow naturally, the facilities at Rijkevorsel are capable of producing about one million bamboo seedlings per year,” an official statement said.

Tissue culture grown bamboo seedlings have many advantages over other vegetative methods of propagation. High quality and disease-free bamboo planting material can be produced on a large scale throughout the year by tissue culture. The seedlings are small in size thus reducing transportation costs.

These seedlings are raised under controlled conditions using the latest technology. Oprins also ensures that it uses only rain water for irrigation and all the runoff, after watering the plants, is saved and recycled. The seedlings at Oprins lab are mostly for ornamental purposes and are in high demand throughout Europe.

Bamboo, meanwhile, is also being tested for use in many non-traditional applications like furniture, roofing, garments and also in the automobile industry. Being cheap, quick growing and light, bamboo can help in reducing dependency on fossil fuels as it is an ideal material for bio-mass energy.

Moreover, bamboo charcoal can be produced in larger quantities with minimal environmental affects carrying with it the possibility of revolutionising the traditional understanding of charcoal.

Sangma said that use of such technological innovations can make bamboo an economically viable crop and improve the livelihood of the people in Meghalaya. Meghalaya Government, he stated, would actively explore the possibility of a Public Private Partnership project with companies like Oprins to introduce innovative practices in bamboo production.

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