Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED) under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs & National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH signed an MoU to promote Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) forest produce for livelihood development of tribal people by promoting primary level value addition to MAPs produce from forest area at grassroots level.
The activities proposed to be supported by NMPB under the MoU are as follows:
- To identify potential Medicinal plant species of the tribal areas.
- To support training and awareness program on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) & Good Field Collection Practices (GFCP).
- Support skill upgradation and capacity building.
- Facilitate and render financial assistance for plantations and nursery development for MAPs through the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra SHGs.
- Facilitate standardising norms for MAPs, render assistance for establishing of research and testing centre.
The activities proposed to be supported by TRIFED under the MoU are as follows:
- Establishment of the ‘Van-Dhan Vikas Kendra’ specifically for Medicinal plants & its products, for providing skill upgradation and capacity building including training in primary processing and primary processing facility.
- Creation of Van Dhan SHGs clusters under the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra that would undertake primary value addition of the MFPs based on MFPs available in the area and provide facility for MAPs raw material primary processing i.e cleaning, packaging & storage facility etc.
- Setting-up of primary processing facility, infrastructure support and value addition facility for MAPs.
- Supply chain for Minor Forest Produce (MFPs)
- Provision of working capital for the SHGs through tie up with financial institutions and other organizations.
- To establish herbal garden of various types to develop and promote the usefulness of commonly available and frequently used Medicinal Plants through SHGs involved in Van Dhan Vikas Kendra.
- Research and Development studies on Medicinal Plants collected by MFP gatherers. In consultation with NMPB and TRIs
- For standardising norms for MAPs, setting up Research and testing centres.in consultation with NMPB.
The MoU will be an important milestone in mainstreaming the tribal community by empowering the tribal gatherers engaged in collection & sale of MFPs/ NTFPs (Non-Timber Forest Produce). Minor Forest Produce (MFP) are a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP collection and sales. This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used/sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.
Recognizing the critical importance which MFP hold for tribals and its potential to create large scale employment opportunity. Ministry of Tribal affairs, Govt. of India has introduced an ambitious scheme of “Mechanism for marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support price (MSP) and development of Value chain for MFP”. The scheme was started with the objective of providing fair price to MFP gatherers, enhance their income level and ensure sustainable harvesting of MFPs. The MSP scheme seeks to establish a framework to ensure fair prices for the produce collected by them, assurance of buying at a particular price, primary processing, storage, transportation etc. while ensuring sustainability of the resource base. It is a holistic scheme for development of MFP trade. The Scheme has been systematically expanded since 2014 to cover 27 States with tribal population and presently 23 MFPs which is under consideration to extend to cover 55 MFPs. Further, Van Dhan Vikas Karyakram being implemented under the Scheme, is an initiative targeting livelihood generation for tribals by harnessing the wealth of forest i.e. Van Dhan. The programme aims to tap into traditional knowledge & skill sets of tribals by adding technology & IT to upgrade it at each stage and to convert the tribal wisdom into a viable economic activity. The initiative shall provide enhanced livelihood to about 25 lakhs tribal gatherers/ artisans.