Forest Fibres & Grasses

Natural Fibres is one resources the is procured from the forest. The items made from Fibres are regularly used by forest dwelling communities; these artifacts may are used in agriculture (various baskets), for fishing operations (traps) or in processing (winnows, sieves). The main objective of the Fibre Desk is:

• To identify traditional Fibre resources.
• To identify traditional Fibre weavers in forest dwelling communities.
• To enhance the skills of weavers by introducing modern designs and adding value to the resource.
• To provide a platform for cross regional learning and sharing of skills, exchanging experiences about Fibres through Fibre-workshops.
• To help villagers to propagate Fibre species through decentralized nurseries.
• Planting and enhancing indigenous Fibre species.

The Fibre Desk has been working with the following Fibre species :

• Bamboo
• Areca leaf
• Pandanas
• Bannanna Fibre
• Kugalballi (Ichnocarpus frutescens)

Cd photos1 012Activities of the Desk

As part of NTFP EP the Fibre Desk provides support to the member organisations in enhancing the value of Fibre resources and products. In addition to maintaining a data base of Fibre resources the Desk organizes workshops and exhibitions of the Fibre products. A list of resource persons skilled in handling with different Fibre plants is available; the experts provide trainings to weavers and artisans in forest dwelling communities. The Fibre Desk is based at Sirsi, Uttara Kannada in the Prakruti’s office. The region has a rich stock of Fibre species and many people working with them.

Two examples:

Ichnocarpus frutescens

Kugalaballi is a creeper which coppices when pruned and the Fibre can be harvested sustainably. The bark of the creeper is cleaned when fresh and wet and used for weaving various products like baskets, plates, boxes etc. Traditionally, people used to prepare only articles of utility with the Fibre but the Desk has introduced for new designs and newer items.

Phoenix sylvestris

Many women forest dwellers weave articles from the leaves of the wild date palm. The make mats, bags and baskets among other things. A single mat fetches between Rs 25- 30. As skills increased they now make quite attractive bags, table mats and earn a little more, the money going exclusively to the women. However, this resource is threatened due to monoculture plantations of the Forest Department.