KHULNA: Bamboo-based cottage industry is on the verge of extinction in the district with the easy availability of plastic products in the markets. The artisans have been struggling for their existence mainly due to lack of capital, marketing facilities and absence of due patronage by the relevant department of the government.
Now-a-days plastic products have flooded in the markets everywhere in the country. For this reason, a large number of people, including a good number of destitute women and elderly people of the district were forced to abandon their ancestral and traditional professions as demand for their products has declined seriously.
Village people use these kula, chalon, mora and dola to take paddy, rice and to keep in the store. The demand and price of this bamboo made products in the harvesting season increase to a great extent. During rainy season the supplies of bamboo made commodities in the hat, bazaars of the district remain is sufficient.
It is learnt that the female artisans are more experience than the male ones in this profession. The females make bamboo products in the houses or the house premises. The male artisans collect raw materials and sell the produced commodities in the bazaars. The artisans buy to make bamboo commodities purchase a bamboo with Tk 200 to Tk 350.
The large marketing of these bamboo products are district sadar and all the nine upazilas headquarters and rural hat, bazaars. These markets sit once or twice a week. On the market days customers come to purchase these items.
The rural people involved in the profession do not get fair prices of their products. They said that fund constraints were the main hindrance to the promotion of their cottage industry.
Micro-credit on easy terms and conditions and low rate of interest would have given a big boost to their handicraft trade. But unfortunately, neither the Social Welfare Department of the government nor any NGO stood by them to promote their trade, they noted.
Khulna Regional Director of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) Kazi Mahbubur Rahman said, the present government is determined to take all the best possible steps to survive the cottage industries at any cost. He urged the government to allocate sufficient fund and the public and private banks to give collateral-free and low-interest small and medium enterprise (SME) loans to run cottage industry’s business.