An initiative by the Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts (APIC) under the economic affairs ministry (MoEA) aims to change this prevalent trend.
For starters, this will be sampled with an inauguration of cane and bamboo products at Bjokha, Panbang under Zhemgang Dzongkhag by the APIC on 21 January.
The exhibition will put on display an array of indigenous products made by Bhutanese with innovative ideas.
Be it a book cover, bottle stand, kitchen stand, center table, cups, trays, jewelry, coin box, fruit stand, side bag and many more are the products being made in the country.
These are the work of some 20 participants from Bjokha along with some participants from Bumthang.
Bjokha is considered one of the remotest places under Zhemgang Dzongkhag, a place where there is neither electricity nor access to road and it is almost a three-day journey on foot from Zhemgang dzongkhag.
APIC’s Craft Cluster Development Officer Namgay Wangchuk said, the products are different from the existing cane and bamboo products in the country. In fact, all the 20 products are made for the first time.
The main objective of conducting the pilot project is, “Basically for poverty reduction as well as promotion of arts and crafts and moreover, on the general term to create job market,” he said.
He added saying the reason to conduct the first pilot project at Bjokha was because of “High poverty rate, explaining that lower Kheng is considered as a place of high poverty rate as well as one of the remotest place”.
Moreover, he said, “Through this project people can generate their income as well”.
Recently, the groups were trained for two weeks on product development and diversification by the trainers from India.
Equipments for the production are being supplied by APIC.
The APIC also plans to give training after two or three months on business management, trainings for students during winter and in making Pachadromchu (a kind of box).
Crafts Cluster Development Officer Namgay Wangchuk said “APIC helps in marketing linkage for the sale of the production”. Moreover, he said, so far it has also been advertised in broadcast media, print media and magazine through craft bazaar as well and also during trade fair, he said.
The Bjokha Cane and Bamboo Development Cooperative has one Chairperson, one Treasurer, Secretary, Election Committee and Audit committee appointed for a period of two years.
The first-time-consumer is bound to judge any product on its durability after having purchased it for whatever reason caught their eyes, be it color, design or shape and size.
Most of the products on display are made from bamboo. The bamboos are kept dry for a week’s time and given treatment so that it is protected from insects.
Hence, as far as longevity goes these products supposedly have it cinched with the customers, as it is said to last a maximum of 10 to 20 years.
The beneficiaries from the production of Bjokha cane and production development cooperative includes about 126 households.
The products have been made in two weeks time.
As of now, it is registered under Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Agricultural and Marketing Cooperatives (DAMC).