This amazing Workshop was based on three themes: Construction, Food and Handicrafts, in which hands-on training was given. Additionally, photography, painting and food competition was included, expanding dimension and audience. Over 300 delegates from 34 countries participated! This was more than a workshop; it was a Congress! Presentations were given by 24 speakers, covering topics such as architecture (traditional and contemporary), structural engineering, industrial applications, nutrition, propagation and ecotourism. Children from various schools in Manipur took part in a bamboo-themed painting competition, and a cooking competition featuring recipes using bamboo shoot as the main ingredient was lively and delicious! The Global Cook-off enabled "Master Chefs" from Mexico, France, Vietnam, Philippines, Colombia and Chile to create original dishes from their home country.
The main objective of the WBW National Coordinator Dr. Nirmala Chongtham was to create a platform wherein local Manipuri artisans could interact and learn about the lastest technology from international experts and also know the latest applications which are being used globally in bamboo. By the end of the week, five structures were built by the working participants, led by 5 internationally-known architects: Martin Mortera and team of Bamboo Architecture Company (Mexico), Peter van Lengen of TIBA (Brazil and Mexico), Juan Pablo Pinto and team of Cave Urban (Australia), Neelam Manjunath of Mansaram Architects (India) and Sukumar Haobam of Strategy Innovative Consultancy Services (Manipur).
The Workshop was an opportunity to showcase traditional Manipuri handicrafts and skills in bamboo, and also look at potential commercial ventures, collaborations and marketing strategies with well-established international companies. Nirmala, whose home state is Manipur, says, "It is my dream that the bamboo sector in India, especially in the Northeast, develops very strongly using our rich bamboo resource for socio-economic development of the people."
India has 15.69 million hectares of land under bamboo, the second largest after China. But the Indian share of the world bamboo trade of US$1.5billion is insignificant. The Northeastern Region of India, which includes Manipur, has only 28% of land under bamboo, but has 66% of India's total bamboo stock. Bamboo has the potential of becoming the growth engine of Northeast India. We at WBO hope this Workshop stimulates the organization of value chains, garners collaborations with institutions, corporations and non-government organizations, and delivers sustainable economic development to this culturally rich region.
Immense thanks go to the Chief Minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh and his capable team for all the support and efforts to see this event be a huge success. Thanks to so many who made up a dedicated team: Dr. Sapam Ranjan, Chairman of the WBW Working Committee, Shri P. Vaiphei, Principal Secretary of Trade, Commerce and Industries, Dr. Najma Heptulla, Governor of Manipur, Minister Th. Biswajit Singh, Minister Th. Shyamkumar, and all their team members. Special thanks to Ch. Priyoranjan Singh for the amazing Souvenir Book, and Dr. D.D. Haokip for his friendship and commitment to bamboo.
Thanks go to our sponsors who trusted WBO would do it right: The government of Manipur, the city of Imphal, the North Eastern Council Govt of India, Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Industries, INBAR, GrowMore Biotech, DICMA Trade, and all the companies who took part in the Exposition.
Our sincere personal thanks go to two of our finest World Bamboo Ambassadors: Ms. Nirmala Chongtham and Mr. Guillermo Mortera, who really worked night and day, alongside one of the most extraordinary taskmasters ever known to WBO, Mr. Santosh Oinam. The amazing video that shows the passion and the commitment of the 3rd World Bamboo Workshop is the work of Oscar Heju and Danny Ruiz. Watch it and believe that dreams do come true.