Demand for bamboo baskets and crafts is gradually increasing as harvest of vegetables and various fruits like mango, litchi and papaya and tomato going on in full swing.
Growers and traders said bamboo baskets are suitable and appropriate for carrying and transporting fruits and vegetables than any other plastic box and basket.
"We are dependent on the eco-friendly bamboo basket for keeping and carrying the newly harvested fruits," said Nazrul Islam, a grower-cum-seller of litchi at Shaheb Bazar in Rajshahi city.
Talking to the news agency he said bamboo basket keeps litchi and mango cool and green for several hours. There is no alternative to use it for running the business of mango and litchi successfully.
"I have been using bamboo basket for the daylong vending vegetables for long around 15 years," said Azizul Islam, a vegetable vendor of Shayampur village under Matiher Police Station.
Professor Dr Golam Mostofa of Institute of Environmental Sciences of Rajshahi University said more than 10,000 people are involved in manufacturing bamboo baskets and crafts in the region.
Most of them are women and aborigines and bamboo products are their main sources of their income. Apart from this, around 30,000 other people are completely dependent on trading of those for their livelihood.
The manufacturers collect bamboo from local markets and sell the processed items locally while small traders purchase the items from different villages and sell those to various regional markets.
The bamboo baskets are widely used for carrying betel leaf and other seasonal fruits especially mango, tomato, papaya, guava and jujube and demand of the bamboo handicrafts have enhanced to a greater extent during harvesting and marketing of the fruits.
Dr Mostofa underscored the need for promoting the sector for poverty alleviation of the disadvantaged group of people.
Market expansion of environment-friendly bamboo products and successful manufacturing of those can eradicate their poverty.
Interested nursery owners should be given necessary training on bamboo sapling production and branch cutting method, in collaboration with the Bangladesh Forest Research Institute and the Social Forestry Department, to enhance bamboo production.
Importance should be given on conducting survey in different high price markets including Dhaka and other commercial hubs to build linkage between the wholesalers and producers.
He said the bamboo traders, product manufacturers and businessmen should be brought under the existing micro-credit programmes.
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