NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Tribal affairs has approved establishment of the first multipurpose ÂVan Dhan Vikas KendraÂ on pilot basis in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.
The Kendra will provide skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility for forest produce.
This first model Van Dhan Vikas Kendra is being implemented for training of 300 beneficiaries with a total outlay of Rs 43.38 lakhs for training, providing equipments and tools for primary level processing and infrastructure and building for the Kendra. This Kendra will start with processing facility for Tamarind brick making, Mahua flower storage facility and chironjee cleaning and packaging.
TRIFED has assigned the work for establishment of this pilot Vikas Kendra in Bijapur to Chhattisgarh Minor Forest Produce Federation and Collector, Bijapur would be the coordinating force. The selection of the tribal beneficiaries and formation of the SHGs has been undertaken by TRIFED and the training is scheduled to start from 10th April, 2018.
To start with Van Dhan Vikas Kendra is being established in a Panchayat Building so that the primary processing can be commenced by the SHGs. The Kendra will be shifted to its own building once the same is ready.
Such centres will be an important milestone in economic development of tribal population involved in collection of minor forest produces (MFPs) by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide sustainable MFP-based livelihood in MFP-rich districts.
Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a major source of livelihood for tribal people 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. It provides them critical subsistence during the lean seasons, particularly for primitive tribal groups such as hunter gatherers, and the landless.
Tribal population derives 20-40% of their annual income from MFP on which they spend major portion of their time. This activity has strong linkage to womenÂs 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.
Ministry of Tribal Affairs has taken a number of initiatives for socio economic development of tribal groups such as introduction Forest rights Act, PESA Act and has been implementing schemes for development of MFP by providing financial support to State TDCCs and TRIFED for market development of MFPs.
Recognizing the critical importance which MFP hold for the indigenous groups and its potential to create large scale employment opportunity thereby, helping in reducing poverty and increasing empowerment of tribal population particularly women and poor people of the poorest and backward districts of the country, Govt. of India has introduced an ambitious scheme ofÂMechanism for marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support price (MSP) and development of Value chain for MFPÂ.
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, and transportation while ensuring sustainability of the resource base. It is a holistic scheme for development of MFP trade and covers 24 MFPs.
Value addition assumes critical importance in ensuring remunerative prices to these people in this approach. Three stage value addition would be the corner stone for enhancing incomes of the tribal people under the scheme. The grass root level procurement is proposed to be undertaken through SHGs associated with implementing agencies. Convergence and networking with other Govt. departments/scheme shall be undertaken to utilise the services of existing SHGs such as Ajeevika.
These SHGs shall be appropriately trained on sustainable harvesting/collection, primary processing and value addition and be formed into clusters so as to aggregate their stock in tradable quantity and linking them with facility of primary processing in a Van Dhan Vikas Kendra. The stock after primary processing shall be supplied by these SHGs to the State Implementing Agencies or direct tie up for supply to corporate secondary processor. For creation of secondary level value addition facility at district level and tertiary level value addition facility at State level, corporates shall be involved under public private partnership (PPP) model.
This PPP model will be based on utilising private entrepreneur skills in undertaking processing as well as marketing of the produce and Central/ State Govt. support in terms of creating infrastructure and providing enabling environment for undertaking value addition of systematic scientific lines.