Estimated 100 Million people derive their source of livelihood from the collection and marketing of MFP (Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, 2011). The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the facts that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. It is important for them for food, shelter medicines and case income beside providing critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time. 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.
1. MINIMUM SUPPORT PRICE (MSP) FOR MFPs:
i) Govt. of India has taken a number of initiatives for socio economic development of tribals and recognizing the critical importance which MFP hold for tribals and its potential to create large scale employment opportunity thereby, helping in reducing poverty and increasing empowerment of tribals particularly women and poor people of the poorest and backward districts of the country, Govt. of India has decided to introduce an ambitious scheme of providing fair price for the MFP collected by tribals through Minimum Support price (MSP). The scheme has been started with the objective of providing fair returns 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 tribals, assurance of buying at a particular price, primary processing, storage, transportation etc while ensuring sustainability of the resource base. The scheme envisages fixation of MSP for the following items, procurement and marketing operation of which shall be undertaken by State procurement agencies at the pre fixed MSP.
(i) Tendu, (ii) Bamboo, (iii) Mahuwa Seed, (iv) Sal Leaf (v) Sal Seed, (vi) Lac,
(vii) Chironjee (viii) Wild Honey (ix) Myrobalan, (x) Tamarind (xi) Gums (Gum Karaya) (xii) Karanj.
Any de-nationalised MFP / items removed from the purview of monopoly procurement in future will also qualify for coverage under the Scheme. Similarly any nationalized/ monopolized procurement MFP will disqualify for coverage under the Scheme. Mahuwa Flower which is for self consumption by the tribals will also be excluded from the purview of MSP. However, if any State willingly wants any nationalised items to be included in MSP, then it shall have to change its nationalized status accordingly. The scheme shall initially be implemented in the following PESA States (except Himachal Pradesh):-
Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra & Rajasthan.
ii) Objective: - The scheme has been started with following objectives a. To provide fair price to the MFP gatherers for the produce collected by them and enhance their income level b. To ensure sustainable harvesting of MFPs. c. The Scheme will have a huge social dividend for MFP gatherers, majority of whom are tribals.
It is a holistic scheme for development of MFP trade including its value chain and necessary infrastructure at local level. The MSP scheme seeks to establish a framework to ensure fair returns for the produce collected by tribals, assurance of buying at a particular price, primary processing, storage, transportation etc while ensuring sustainability of the resource base.
iii) Salient Features of the scheme:
(a) Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India shall be the Nodal Ministry for implementation and monitoring of the scheme. Ministry of Tribal Affairs shall announce Minimum Support Price (MSP) for the selected MFPs with the technical support from TRIFED.
(b) TRIFED shall be Central Nodal Agency for implementation of the scheme through State level implementing agencies.
(c) The basic component of the scheme includes declaration of MSP for notified MFPs by the Central Government based on the recommendation of the Pricing Cell set up within TRIFED. The Pricing Cell has already been under the Chairmanship of Managing Director, TRIFED comprising representatives of Planning Commission, Commission for Agricultural Cost & Price, Ministry of Rural Development, Indian Institute of Forest Management , Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education, National Council for Applied Economic Research and experts in the relevant field. In addition, Chief Executive Officers of designated States Procurement agencies will also be invited as a Special Invitees for the purpose.
(d) State designated agencies will undertake procurement of notified MFPs directly from MFP gatherers (individual or collectives) at haats /village/pre notified procurement centres at prefixed Minimum Support Price and ensure full & timely payment to MFP gatherers across the country. States will ensure setting up of adequate number of Procurement Centres with necessary manpower and storage facility to meet the needs of MFP gatherers and thereby minimize exploitation by middle men. The State Procurement Agency will ensure proper collection, transportation, handling and storage arrangements to avoid deterioration in the quality. Appropriate guidelines for efficient and transparent procurement, supervision and monitoring of the operations will be issued by the Procurement Agency to the field level functionaries.
(e) Revolving fund: The State Governments Agencies will undertake procurement and marketing operations of MFPs under MSP Scheme. A revolving fund shall be provided to each designated State for procurement of MFPs from the gatherers at the prefixed MSP. The revolving fund requirement for each State shall be assessed based on a Procurement Plan every year. A provision of Rs.345 Crore has been made for revolving funds as central share and remaining 25% shall be arranged by State Govts.
(f) Subsidy Requirement: Subsidy is required for the States to compensate for the losses if incurred, during the MSP operation. It is essentially an anti poverty measures, as it addresses the livelihood of some of the poorest communities in the country. The designated State Procurement Agency will finalize the accounts related to each commodity on yearly basis and based on the certified accounts subsidy shall be released to State Procurement agencies to the extent of 75% and remaining 25% shall be borne by the State. A provision of Rs.285 Crores has been made in the budget for this purpose.
(g) The Scheme shall provide training to 1,00,000 tribal MFP gatherers on sustainable harvesting and value addition activities including facilitation for marketing of the produces.
(h) Market information system: The existence and dissemination of complete and accurate market information is the key to achieve both operational and pricing efficiency. Therefore, MFPNET a portal dedicated to MFPs is being established to implement information and communication technology based schemes. The basic objectives is to establish nationwide information network for speedy collection and dissemination of market information and data for its efficient and timely utilization.
(i) Modernization of Haats, storage facility at aggregation points and establishment of Multipurpose Centers for training and capacity building, value addition ,storage etc. also forms part of the scheme. (j) To ensure transparency and their accountability to Gram Sabhas, all Procurement Agencies will share full information about MSP operation and local accounts with the Gram Sabhas.
(k) The total outlay for the Scheme is Rs.967 Crore as Centre’s share for the plan period during 2013-14 to 2016-17.
TRIFED in its endeavor to develop the marketing of minor forest produce is engaged in skill up gradation and capacity building of MFP gatherers with the objective of improving their income by way of organizing training for non-destructive harvesting, primary processing, value addition and marketing of MFPs. During the last few years, TRIFED has organized intensive training on sustainable collection, cultivation, primary processing, value addition and marketing of Honey, Gum Karaya, Mahua flower, Lac, Donna Pattal making, Hill Grass, Bamboo cultivation covering 56000 Gatherers. The trainings are organized through empanelled implementing agencies working in the field of tribal development.
It has been observed that without value addition of MFP, possibility of providing remunerative prices to the MFP gatherers is limited. Accordingly, TRIFED has now designed its training programmes to include forward & backward linkages as an integral part of the training. Now the objective is to empower the beneficiaries through training, provide information and handhold them by including them as a supplier of TRIFED as far as possible or link them to different marketing channels. TRIFED’s training programmes can be divided in two categories.
i) One that leads to production of marketable product as an outcome of the training based on which an enterprise can be started with the assistance of State. Such trainings are value addition trainings on Hill Grass, Tamarind, Dona Pattal, Amla, Honey & some Agro based items like spices, herbs, cashew, etc. The trainees shall be supported in establishing marketing linkages and establishing their enterprise. While TRIFED propose to provide them with initial tool kits but for long-term sustenance of their initiative they will be converted into an enterprise with the active support of State Government. State Government’s participation will help ensure convergence by expanding the beneficiary base and can also compliment & supplement these initiatives in a positive manner by arranging to provide financial & administrative support in the form of working capital loans, Grants, subsidy, infrastructural support etc. wherever possible to help beneficiaries in establishing their enterprise and providing marketing linkages. Initial marketing linkages are also proposed to be provided as part of the training programme by marketing their products through TRIBES INDIA outlets established by TRIFED or any other outlet locally, directly by them. They will be encouraged to market their products locally in a systematic manner so that they can take control of their enterprise without continuous support from any outside agency. A brand is also proposed to be established for such MFP products that can be sold in Retail to help provide a distinct identity to such products.
ii) Second is purely skill development training under which inputs are provided to the tribals to cultivate, collect and harvest MFP items in a scientific manner so that it not only improves the quantity & quality of the produce but also protects the environment. These trainings will result in earning livelihood through Lac cultivation, Processing of TBOs & Mahuwa Flower business activity in a scientific manner. These are purely skill development training under which they will be trained to enhance quantity collects and its quality so that their income improves. They will be encouraged to work in SHG mode for these training and work collectively to improve their incomes.
|YEAR||BENEFICIARIES||OUTLAY (Rs.in Lakhs)|