My eco-friendly bamboo lunchbox from Manipur

Admit it. The preferrred tiffin field is rarely a click on away. Especially if we’re wholesome, sustainable choices to pack our meals in; one thing that’s made from pure materials, is sturdy and likewise seems to be good.

When the lockdown slowed life and enterprise in Manipur’s Churachandpur district (60 kilometers from Imphal), 27-year-old V Ginkhanpau determined to utilise the time to fine-tune and finalise the search for the bamboo tiffin provider he and his staff had began work on. Ginkhanpau, (folks at work and in his village name him Pau) is a self-trained bamboo artisan who began Zogam Bamboo Works in 2014. His enterprise associate Golan Naulak joined him in 2017.

Pau says he was eight years previous when he misplaced his mother and father; so he utilised no matter ability he needed to earn a residing. “I became a bamboo artisan because that was the only work I knew. I started doing bamboo craft with some of my friends. That is when I discovered I was good at it. When I grew up, with the little money I saved, I went to Assam to train in bamboo handicraft at Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) at Byrnihat (19 kilometres from Assam’s capital Dispur and 500 kilometres from Imphal).”

Lockdown enterprise

With ample time obtainable, the Zogam staff labored on the prototype and rolled out just a few handmade bamboo tiffin carriers. Pau says earlier than they bought busy with this, the staff used to create bamboo ornamental and utility objects. “We make pens, stationary holders, cups, mugs and trays. We additionally make bamboo hairclips and containers (for salt, uncooked dal and different dry kitchen gadgets),” he says. “When we started working on the tiffin carriers, we were very excited. Golan is a policy researcher who works with community-led initiatives in the Northeast, discussed the tiffin box with an IFS officer. By this time we had also sold a few pieces locally in Manipur,” mentioned Pau.

He additionally takes delight in saying, “The final product was eye-catching and people loved it. They are priced at ₹599 and ₹799 and can be ordered on Facebook.”

Golan Naulak

Golan Naulak  

Golan says, “The thing with bamboo is that there are too many stakeholders and almost every idea is a repeat. Pau made this wonderful tiffin carrier and we were more than happy to work and improvise on it. I joined Zogam to help them work with research and marketing. I took the tiffin carrier to National Bamboo Mission and Manipur Forest Department. They were more than willing to help us.”

What pushed these tiffin bins into the limelight was a tweet by Indian Forest Service official Sudha Ramen.

The staff makes use of all forms of bamboo. “Because we work with our fingers and never machines, we use the bamboo that’s snug to work with. For the tiffin carriers, nevertheless, we use dragon bamboo (regionally referred to as gomi, its circumference is about 17 to 20 centimetres) for the bins and different varieties for the stand or holder. The different bamboo that may be labored with are gotang, mau and gova,” explains Pau.

FAQs galore

The bamboo tiffin box by Zogam bamboo work

Even because the bins create a buzz on social media, the staff is busy addressing buyer considerations. The most typical question is: “Can we replace steel with this tiffin box?” Says Golan, “It is an eco-friendly alternative. We are not promoting our bamboo boxes as a replacement to traditional tiffin boxes. The other concern is about the method of treatment for the bamboo. After cutting the bamboo, we treat it in our own traditional or local way, without any chemicals. The processes include storing water in the bamboo and keeping it immersed in natural water bodies such as a pond or small river for some days or weeks. After this, we use it to make the tiffin box.”

The staff will now be helped by specialists, to include a copper or metal sheet within the inside lining of the bins. “All thanks to IFS officials,” provides Golan.

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