To assist entrepreneurs and private sector explore opportunities in bamboo commercialisation and promote it as major construction material, Bamtech, a mobile application on bamboo housing and construction was launched on August 14 in Thimphu.

The application features essential information while using bamboo for housing, construction, furniture making and quality products.

The South Asia Bamboo Foundation developed the application this year. The app was first launched in New Delhi, India followed by a series of relaunches across the states of India. Bamtech was also launched at a global platform, in China, Beijing, earlier this year.

Officials from Bhutan Chamber for Commerce and Industry, Handicraft Association of Bhutan, and the founder and CEO of South Asia Bamboo Foundation, Kamesh Salam attended the launch.

Kamesh Salam said products made from bamboo were questioned about durability and shelf life. “It’s also considered as poor man’s timber. These are all because of the lack of awareness and information on management and treatment of bamboo,” he said. “Bamboos if not treated well would be attacked by fungus.”

A natural and a traditional method of smoking is considered the best bamboo treatment and preservation practice.

Kamesh Salem said mismanagement of bamboo, lack of information on harvest, and collection among others were the challenges involved in commercialisation and in using it as a housing material.

Despite growing more than 30 species and abundant availability of bamboos in the country, the non-wood forest products are limited to making of bamboo baskets, cane containers, cane hats, and other basic home utilities, among others.

Bamtech app aims to explore bamboo cultivation and management into commercial level to provide communities with opportunities in bamboo cultivation and enhance sustainable bamboo based economy.

The app would also promote innovative ways of using bamboo to improve rural livelihoods, protect the environment, and to encourager green economy according Kamesh Salam.

BCCI’s Secretary General, Sangay Dorji said such initiative conducted through collaboration with private sector associations justifies private sector being the engine of economic growth. “If we are to achieve self-sustainability this kind of initiative will be exemplary.”

He said that it would be great substitute to timber and contributes to government’s key initiative like import substitution, environment conservation, export enhancement with innovative products and also help create employment opportunities.