BAMBOO VILLAGES IN SRI LANKA
Posted on July 11th, 2021

Sarath Wijesinghe President’s Counsel, former Ambassador to UAE and Israel President Ambassador’s Forum

Bamboo

Bamboo is found and known in Sri Lanka as a tree belongs to the grass family, mainly grown in the forest and in private, which is used in housing industry and craftsmanship in some parts of the country. It has not been utilized in larger scale in multi purposes such as in China, Indonesia, India and many parts of African, Asian and Latin American counties as an alternative for wood, housing, food, adhesive, pulp, paper industry clothes, leaves as food in different forms, medicine, preparation of fertilizer, shoots a delicacy, flooring, furniture, and many other purposes in small and large scale. It is a hidden treasure to be unearthed unknown to Sri Lanka, despite the excellent conditions in the country for the growth of this plant. It grows comfortably in Sri Lankan soil with minimum or no fertilizer and grows as a faster growing plant much faster than any other tree used for wood which takes long years to grow when the bamboo will be grown in few months. Multi use of this wonder plant us so useful in China they call it the friend of the poor man and the saviour of the common man. In Indonesia bamboo bicycles are made strong and easy riding and houses in many stands with bamboo plantations. India too is a bamboo country with large bamboo plantations and productive to the community and especially to the poor to be independent with a substantial source of income. It is grown easily with a quick return which can be used as an interplant with other plantations and other sources of income. It grows in villages with no disturbances and leaving ample room to be independent. Bamboo is an ideal plantation for the villager to be self-sufficient in craftsmanship as the products have a great demand local and otherwise. Bamboo furniture is durable, convenient to make, not heavy to transport with a beautiful appearance. Craftsmen produces are varied and numerous, and attractive. Bamboo houses and flooring is strong, beautiful and affordable which is found in many Bamboo countries. It is healthy, environmental friendly and not heavy as any other wood. Growing and developing Bamboo will prevent deforestation and felling of expensive wood illegally inviting global warming and climatic changes which is a threat to the world today.

Bamboo Villages and ‘Kubbuths’ Concept

‘Kubbuths’ are community clusters set up in Israel at the inception of the new nation with most difficult hardships with less or no water and many other facilities except the human resources. ‘Kubbiths’ is a self-sufficient unit consisting families and individuals living together sharing everything among each other a concept partially imported from Russia with new modifications, with a trade, developments and innovations attached. For example some ‘Kubbits’ may be attached to mainly diary on a leased or a state land where everything including, food education, expenditure are shared and the accounts are to be shown to the community completely independent from the State, with tacit approval and acceptance of the state monitoring and encouraging the concept spread right round the country somewhat akin to the typical Sri Lankan traditional village which Is self-sufficient and helps each other in every step. For example for harvesting of the paddy field, other difficult agricultural work and putting up the ‘Kadjan’ – coconut roof , where lot of labour is needed, entire or a part of the village would contribute in labour and other means  which goes round the village on turns. Villages does it to the community as a duty and a custom for the development of the village which is still found in some traditional areas, which is excellent and exemplary may be not found in anywhere in the world. In traditional ‘’Kubbuths’’ now developed with most modern trends, had school, surgery, factor or the trade and entire infrastructure to be an independent unit. For example the diary started at the incubation period in 1948, have now transformed into major companies converting the ‘Kubbuths’ too as companies and changing hands of the ‘Kubbith’ to  another generation. It is noted that today  Israel is  a nuclear world power, self-sufficient in water food having changed themselves according to the changing world, which started with ‘Kubbiths’ concept and hard work with a vision led by visionaries who directed the successful voyage of/for success. When Israeli started the journey they had no water except some water in ‘Galali’ river. They spent a fortune to the desalination process of converting sea water to be used in agricultures and domestic use, with very many innovations by innovators and scientists. The incubators of many Israeli innovations took place in ‘Kubbuths’ and many leading personalities including a President has been a product of ‘Kubbith’.  Once Bamboo villages are set up in Sri Lanka it could be expended worldwide in thousands of HA available for bamboo craftsmanship and plantations in Asia Africa and Latin America awaiting and expecting to share the knowledge knowhow and the land. Needless to state that promotion and initiation should come from the state and bamboo states worldwide.

‘Kubbiths’, Traditional Village and Bamboo Villages

It is ideal to combine all these situations on setting bamboo villages separately or next to a large bamboo plantation so that the bamboo villagers could be a part of the Bamboo plantation and the craftsmen village may be with sale outlets such as traditional ‘Kaju Gama’ or a similar concept could be adopted with state private partnership as the state has the monopoly and power on Bamboo cultivation with ample land available. It is the duty of the State and the private sector to import the expert knowledge and practices from China, Indonesia and other Bamboo countries for knowledge, knowhow and experience of the growers and craftsmen to train the local citizen. This is a simple process/project with moderately minimal investments preferable backed and participated by the State with innovative youth to start with, using all the concepts abovementioned and the experiences of others worldwide. It is suggested the Bamboo leaders to set up a network of bamboo help themselves and the common man awaiting for assistance and ever prepared to assist .

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