India, Japan pitch for cooperation in bamboo sector

Agartala: In an effort to boost ties between India and Japan in the bamboo craft sector, a team from the Japanese embassy in New Delhi and stakeholders in the bamboo handicraft sector of Tripura took part in a workshop called ‘Bridging Japan and India by Bamboo’.

The workshop, which will benefit the bamboo artisans and also improve the trade relation between India and Japan, was held at the Bamboo and Cane Development Institute in Agartala.

Tripura Forest Minister Mewar Kumar Jamatia inaugurated the workshop and appreciated the effort of the Japanese Embassy, Tripura Forest Department and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) officials for organizing the workshop.

The Japanese team was headed by the Economic Minister at Embassy of Japan in India, Kenko Sone. They arrived here on Wednesday on a two-day tour, during which they visited various bamboo utility centres including bamboo wood factory, handicraft production unit, crafts sell centre.

The international team also comprised of renowned Japanese bamboo artisan Kei Hasegawa along with researcher and economic adviser Kyohei Yamamoto, JICA official. They shared their ideas with the local bamboo artisans of Tripura during the workshop and discussed the scope and development of bamboo art through capacity building for value addition as per the market demand and for sustainable development.

Japanese team leader Kenko Sone also mentioned about a new forum called ‘Act East Forum’, which was formed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in September 2017 . The forum was formed to facilitate the cooperation of Japan with the Northeastern region of India through various development projects. Forestry development projects are one of the key projects of the cooperation.

“The India government has been asking Japan to cooperate in the bamboo sector especially in the Northeastern region of India besides increasing the people-to-people contact between the two nations,” said Sone.

Famous bamboo artist Kei Hasegawa was impressed with the Indian bamboo artisan handicraft products and said that proper value addition to the Indian bamboo handicrafts would give a better return as there are huge potential and demand for them in the global market.

An externally aided project, the phase -II of Tripura JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), is on the cards. A Rs 1000-crore soft loan agreement is going to be signed between JICA and Tripura government soon for the project that is likely to start from next December.

Meanwhile, the local artisans are also excited about the benefits of the exchange programme as they exchanged ideas with their Japan counterparts which they think would increase the demand for their products.

A bamboo artisan of Tripura, Krishnadas Paul, said the cooperation with Japan can help the Indian artisans get the machines needed for greater production. “In abroad most of the things are done by machines but ours is handicraft and almost there is no machinery except few tools.

We need five days to produce a handicraft lamp but using the machine they produce 50 numbers in the same period. But the artisans are not in a very good financial condition because of this. Now if the government comes forward to help the artisans then surely this will move ahead and I believe the government will do that.” said Krishnadas. (ANI)