Mechanism for marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of value chain as a measure of social safety for MFP gatherers
The Union Cabinet today approved a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for marketing of non-nationalized / non monopolized Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and development of a value chain for MFP through Minimum Support Price (MSP). This will be a measure towards social safety for MFP gatherers, who are primarily members of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) most of them in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas.
In addition, the scheme will ensure that the tribal population gets a remunerative price for the produce they collect from the forest and provide alternative employment avenues to them. An estimated 100 million forest dwellers depend on the Minor Forest Produce for food, shelter, medicines, cash income, etc.
It seeks to establish a system to ensure fair monetary returns for forest dweller™s efforts in collection, primary processing, storage, packaging, transportation etc, while ensuring sustainability of the resource base. It also seeks to get them a share of revenue from the sales proceeds with costs deducted.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme will have Rs. 967.28 crore as Central Government share and Rs. 249.50 crore as the States share for the current Plan period.
The scheme would cover 12 MFPs, which are not nationalized in States having Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in accordance with Fifth Schedule of Constitution. These are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Jharkhand. The 12 MFPs are Tendu, Bamboo, Karanj, Mahuwa Seed, Sal Leaf, Sal Seed, Lac, Chironjee, Wild Honey, Myrobalan, Tamarind, and Gums (Gum Karaya).
The responsibility of purchasing MFP on MSP will be with State designated agencies. To ascertain market price, services of market correspondents would be availed by the designated agencies particularly for major markets trading in MFP. The scheme supports primary value addition as well as provides for supply chain infrastructure like cold storage, warehouses etc. Emphasis on scientific harvesting along with interventions stated in the scheme can sustain the process while ensuring higher returns to the collector. This package of intervention can help in organizing unstructured MFP markets.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs will be the nodal Ministry for implementation and monitoring of the scheme. The Minimum Support Price would be determined by the Ministry with technical help of TRIFED.
The Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech had announced that a scheme would be formulated to ensure fair and remunerative price to MFP gatherers.
The Minor Forest Produce (MFP), also known as Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), is a major source of livelihood and provides essential food, nutrition, medicinal needs and cash income to a large number of STs who live in and around forests. However, MFP production is highly dispersed spatially because of the poor accessibility of these areas and competitive market not having evolved. Consequently, MFP gatherers who are mostly poor are unable to bargain for fair prices.