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 today which aims 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.At the event marking the signing of the MoU, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said that while tribal people have been growing medicinal plants, they are as yet unaware of the actual value of their produce. This MoU will help them realise the potential of their produce and help them achieve the true remuneration of their product.The Minister said that through the efforts of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the focus of government has shifted towards ‘Van Dhan’ and the MoU seeks to further this vision of the Prime Minister. He added that just like Yoga, which had been present in India for centuries but gained prominence only after it was properly marketed, it is time to properly market the medicinal and aromatic plants grown by tribal people to help these products attain prominence. He forecast that through such efforts, with time, thousands of crores worth of investment will be driven in this sector and these products will soon reach the international arena.
The Minister of State for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik said that the MoU will help in employment generation and skill upgradation of tribal people and will prove to be beneficial for them. Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Shri Sudarshan Bhagat added that since most of the tribal people are associated with farming, this MoU is also a step in the direction of achieving the vision of Prime Minister of doubling the income of farmers.Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, Shri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha said that the MoU will help strengthen supply chain management for such produce and prove to be a win-win situation for both TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs and NMPB under Ministry of AYUSH. Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Shri Deepak Khandekar added that the MoU will greatly help the tribal population attain good remuneration for their produce.
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.The Government of India has brought in certain reforms in the sector through Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 which conferred ownership rights on tribal Gram Sabhas in respect of MFP found in their area. 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.Proposition is to set-up tribal community owned Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP)-centric multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (the Kendra) in predominantly tribal districts. About 3000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras are proposed to be set up in span of 2 years i.e. 1500 Kendras to be set-up in each year, which will be further continued based on evaluation of their performance and also expanded every year.The programme also focuses on convergence with other on-going scheme and initiatives of other Central/State level departments/ agency/ institutions for leveraging their strength and setups.
Some of the key areas Institutions identified for convergence are:
Ministry of Rural Development to achieve the common goal of enhancing the livelihood of tribal people by tapping into the existing network of self-help groups, for which MOU has been executed.
North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP), North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Cooperation (NERAMAC) and North Eastern Handicraft & Handloom Corporation (NEHHDC) for tapping into their network of SHGs/suppliers promoted for which MOUs are under execution.
Integration with the on-going initiatives of the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance by which the SHG members of Van Dhan Kendras shall benefit through:
Opening of Jan Dhan accounts under Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), RuPay Cards, Insurance products under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), successful Van Dhan Kendras/ SHGs may be linked to the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) and NABARD for loans.
Priority focus is to take up the programme in Aspirational Districts with majority tribal population aligned with initiative of NITI Ayog
Programme implementation in LWE affected districts for livelihood generation
Integration of NTFP-centric approach for tribal development in the forest regions in coordination with Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF)
Provision for working capital assistance for the Van Dhan Vikas SHGs by forging linkages with financial institutions as NSFTDC, SBI and other nationalized banks
Partnership Models with Banks/ PSUs/ private sector for their active participation and financial assistance under CSR funds