Agri Business

Bamboo grove initiative to surmount water scarcity in Latur

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on May 20, 2020

The tissue culture lab at Kalam Farmer Producer Company, Latur

The river rejuvenation project is being implemented by Kalam Farmer Producer Company

In the summer of 2016, Latur faced a grave water emergency, as all the local sources had fully dried up. The city and the surrounding areas, in the rain scarce Marathwada region of Maharashtra, were then supplied drinking water through rail wagons.

To prevent the re-occurrence of such an extreme situation, a new initiative of rejuvenating River Manjara, which supplies water to the city and surrounding areas, is being launched. Under the initiative, bamboo groves will be cultivated along the riverbanks.

Manjara is a tributary of the Godavari and a major lifeline of the Marathwada region. By early 2016 the river had dried up due to drought and erratic rainfall. Drinking water had to be transported using a special 50-wagon train to the city from Miraj, which is 340 km away.

The river rejuvenation project using bamboos is being implemented by Kalam Farmer Producer Company, which is led by Pasha Patel, farmer leader and former Chairman of the Maharashtra Agriculture Price Commission.

Captures carbon faster

Patel told BusinessLine that planting bamboo makes immense ecological sense as it prevents soil erosion along riverbanks. Since it is fast-growing, it can capture the carbon faster than any other tree. Sequestration of carbon in the environment would definitely have a beneficial impact on the environment and help in attracting rain clouds. Larger trees such as banyan and peepal, which are planted across Maharashtra, can save the environment but it takes 25 years to grow such trees, while bamboo’s growth is much faster.

Patel pointed that after a particulate period of carbon capture, the bamboo can be harvested and used for making a variety of products. Under the project, a tissue culture lab for bamboo has already been set up by the Kalam Farmer Producer Company. Plans are afoot to make furniture, toothbrushes, drinking straws and even bicycle frames out of bamboo. The project will receive a subsidy from the Maharashtra government.

Farmer Venkat Jatal from Bhatangali village, which is about 12 km away from Latur city, said that he has 10 acres of fallow land along the river and soon will participate in the drive for growing bamboo. Around the village, farmers had lost a lot of land during the construction of a barrage. As compensation, they received large tracts of low fertile land, which now can be used for bamboo cultivation.

Published on May 20, 2020

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