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Bamboo Craftsmanship: A promising livelihood option

In India, over 200 million livelihoods are directly or indirectly connected to artisan communities, predominantly tribal. The scope of crafting spans from micro to large enterprises, offering a plethora of opportunities for economic growth and community development. According to the National Bamboo Mission, the bamboo sector has the potential to generate annual revenue of up to INR 26,000 crores by 2024-25.

The Art and the Artisan

Bamboo craftsmanship has been a traditional livelihood for many families for decades. Artisans are deeply invested in the art form but often find themselves dissatisfied due to the lack of respect, salary, and self-satisfaction.

The Catalyst: AKRSP(I)

Aga Khan Rural Support Programme India (AKRSP(I)), a non-government organisation, has been a game-changer. They focus on uplifting poor households and artisans engaged with tribal bamboo artisans. Through AKRSP(I), artisans and rural entrepreneurs in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar receive the necessary training, exposure, and credit access through Rang De to kickstart their own business.

This support is not just monetary; AKRSP(I) also facilitates participation in exhibitions in cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, and Delhi, helping them establish crucial market linkages.

The Impact

With the support of AKRSP(I), artisans were able to start their own business, initially supplying bamboo products in local and urban markets. The demand for these products began to rise, providing artisans with decent salaries.

A typical artisan’s workshop has the potential to grow from a 3-man operation to a unit employing 25 artisans over the span of 5 years.

Quick Stats:

Before AKRSPI training and credit access: Monthly salary of Rs.10,000

After: Net income of Rs. 7 to 8 lakhs per year

The Raw Material Dilemma + Credit Access As Solution

One significant challenge artisans face is the availability of quality raw materials. The destruction of bamboo plants in forest areas forces them to source bamboo from other states, increasing production costs per unit.

Artisans are ordering raw materials from Assam although bamboo is available at local forest but Golden bamboo from Assam has more life span as compared to the ones available locally.

With Rang De loans, artisans can purchase raw materials upfront and pay for transportation and operating costs. These loans are affordable and flexible, with interest rates as low as 6%, allowing artisans to set up their businesses at a scale suitable for them.

Meet Vijaybhai for instance. For the past ten years, he has been meticulously crafting bamboo handicrafts in the Dangs district of Gujarat. With the support of his family, he's turned his passion into a profitable business. He has dreams of expanding his business, and through a Rang De loan has invested in scaling his venture.

The loan of Rs 50,000 funded by 11 Rang De Social Investors helped him purchase the hardware and raw materials needed to take his bamboo handicrafts to new heights.

This flexibility that Rang De loans assure translates to profitability in the long run. More importantly, they become role models for the youth in their villages, proving that financial success and community development can go hand in hand.

To invest in the sustainable development of tribal communities and unlock their potential, visit

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