RAJSHAHI: Despite various teething troubles and limitations, many people are still making different types of bamboo baskets, gears and artifacts meeting up the growing social and commercial demands.
In the present social context, bamboo crafts and gears are widely used for multifarious purposes like harvesting and transporting of seasonal fruits and vegetables, fishing and fencing of newly planted trees.Many communities mostly the ethnic minority ones are making and marketing their bamboo products for survival for long in the region including its vast Barind tract.
But, their work pressure rises to a great extent during every harvesting and marketing season of mango, litchi, guava and tomato. Then all the family members irrespective of ages and genders pass their busy times.
Dr Redwanur Rahman, professor of Institute of Environmental Sciences of Rajshahi University, said more than 10,000 people are involved in bamboo-crafts making. Most of them are women and ethnic minority ones.
Bamboo crafts are their main sources of income in the region. He mentioned that around 15,000 people are directly and completely dependent on bamboo-crafts trading for their livelihood.
The manufacturers collect bamboo from local markets and sell the finished products locally while small traders purchase the items from different villages and sell those to various regional markets.
Dr Rahman said the people in the famous mango producing Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts are engaged in the work as the item, used for safe packing of fruits, in the wake of high demand during the mango and litchi harvesting season.The manufacturers pass busy days making bamboo baskets, locally called jhuri or tukri, as the item is widely used for safe packing of mangoes and litchis to send those to different areas of the country including capital Dhaka from this area.
Trader Ziaul Haque of Darusha village under Paba upazila said he uses bamboo baskets for safe packing of mangoes that are sent to different districts. Many people like it as the quality and taste of mangoes remain unaffected during transportation of bamboo baskets. He uses over 85 baskets daily during the mango season.
The trade serves as an additional income source for many poor and lower middle class rural people.