Market linkages of minor forest products (MFP) are must to promote tribal community, says Experts At ASSOCHAM’s ‘Wisdom Series’

New Delhi: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), one of the apex trade associations of India in association with ITC Sunfeast concluded the ninth edition of its Wisdom Series lecture titled “Be Indian Buy Indian – Empowering Tribal Artisans” on the theme of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat – Vocal for Local – Moving towards Self-Reliant India’. The event saw an expert panel consisting of Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED), Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The session was moderated by Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FMCG Council on Brand Promotion & Brand Protection, ASSOCHAM holding an insightful interaction on promoting the Tribal Artisans in India.

 

Appreciating this great initiative called Atamnirbhar Bharat, Shri Pravir Krishna said “5.5 crore people live in tribal and forest areas and TRIFED is working towards quadrupling their incomes. We cannot transplant development in the tribal areas that have very strong skills and survival instinct. They are the only people who can get the forest produce out of the forest. Tribal’s are very skilful people but lack marketing skill access to large markets and they fall prey to predatory middlemen. It’s not minor forest products (MFP) but non-timber forest produces which contributes to a large amount of the total production from forests. The strategy is to get enterprise in the tribal areas. Vandhan yojna is an initiative by TRIFED is to give back to the tribal community.

 

TRIFED wants to do same thing which Amul did to milk. 26000 products are produces handlooms and handicrafts. We have assigned only the collection or gather the raw material and not branding and marketing. The magic is to get them into value addition, brand it, retail it and market. There is a whole world of opportunity for the tribal community. TRIFED wants to put up to 50000 self help group to enable them to earn more. TRIFED along with IIT is working to increase their skills and increase their earnings. There is a lot of hand-holding through commercial is required. We cannot compare the success of commercial startups with the tribal start-ups. TRIFED has sanctioned 20000 self-help groups to change the tribal system into more vibrant and dynamic form. Be vocal for local and but tribal is the focus currently. Wealth of forest needs to be marketed and then only the tribal community will earn more. An all round development program has been put into place to uplift the tribal community based on their skills and his ownership of the products. Their products are world class and can earn them good money with a little help. The “Van Dhan” commercialization is already happening and launching out various products and these products are competing in the major markets.”

 

Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairman, FMCG Council on Brand Promotion & Brand Protection, ASSOCHAM gave the opening remarks and introduced the panellist to the participants. Talking about the theme he said “As we are all very much aware that the nationwide lockdown affected the economy of India’s tribal population, which depends highly on the sale of minor forest products, the collection and sale of hundreds of minor forest products (MFPs) – that form the backbone of forest dwellers’ economy – are badly affected. This is despite the lockdown relaxation announced by the central government for harvesting and processing of these forest products. The four-month period – from March to June – is the time when most of the MFPs are collected and purchased. This earning constitutes the majority of the annual income of tribal communities. He also highlighted the various initiative recently taken by Ministry of Tribal Affairs to promote Tribal Artisans in India.”