New Delhi: A meeting was held with Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam on August 8, 2021 at Assam House, New Delhi. The objective of the meeting was to identify the contours of setting up a comprehensive Van Dhan network of 7000 VD SHGs subsumed under 350 VDVKCs, 5 TRIFOOD Tribal Food Parks and a digital marketing network. Besides the Hon’ble Chief Minister, 7 Hon’ble MPs of the region were also present.
During the meeting, Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director TRIFED made a presentation which explained the Van Dhan Model of Tribal Development and how it can benefit the state of Assam.
ssam is one of the largest tribal states with 38.84 lakh tribal population which constitutes around 12.4% state population. Out of the total 39 tribal aspirational districts in the country, 4 belong to Assam. The state has 16 tribal groups, of which some of the which comprise about 78% of ST population.
TRIFED as the nodal agency that is working towards tribal empowerment, has been implementing several noteworthy initiatives in this direction. TRIFED has been providing necessary marketing interventions for the tribal products on which tribal livelihoods depend. The main philosophy behind this approach is to empower tribal communities with knowledge, tools and pool of information which further aids them to undertake their operations in a more systematic and scientific manner.
The presentation touched upon the importance of Minor Forest produce in the tribal economy and the various initiatives that have been undertaken. A holistic model of MFP-led Tribal Development, which includes the MSP for MFP scheme and the Van Dhan Yojana and has put in place several schemes for the same were touched upon. The MSP for MFP scheme envisages fixation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for the selected MFPs which provides both subsistence and cash income for an estimated 100 million people who live in or near forests.
In the past two years, the revamped ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ has impacted the tribal ecosystem in a positive way. It has injected Rs 3000 crores into the tribal economy, even during such difficult times, aided by government push. The Van Dhan Yojana is an initiative targeting livelihood generation for tribals by harnessing the wealth of forest i.e. Van Dhan. The programme envisages to establish tribal entrepreneurs for generating livelihoods leading to enhanced income generation among tribal people and cover over 5.3 lakh tribal households.
Currently in Assam the total procurements achieved is Rs. 34.79 lakhs under the MSP for MFP scheme with key produces procured being Thatch, bamboo, cane, hill broom, medicinal plants, Ahoi and Koroi. Under the Van Dhan Yojana TRIFED has setup 128 VDVKCs benefiting over 37,786 households.
As a follow up to this meeting, TRIFED and State Government of Assam will be developing an Enterprise model for Van Dhan Yojana incorporating components of forward linkages including setting up of Common Facilities at District HQs for Handling / Packaging, Testing, Demonstration centers for Minor Forest Produces/ Silk/ Lac/ Agri produces, cluster level Tertiary processing units, marketing and branding. The initiatives will be implemented in convergence with MoTA, TRIFED, Govt. of Assam, MSME, MoFPI and MoRD. The presentation spoke in detail about these plans.
In addition, TRIFED has proposed to develop a Marketing and Logistics Plan for promoting Tribal Products from North-East Region where it plans to empanel more than 4,000 artisans and identify tribal products which can be registered under Geographical Indication having proposed budget of Rs. 150 Crore. It was iterated during the meeting that Assam can hugely benefit from this scheme and take lead in empanelling artisans and provide impetus to its tribal products using the scheme. TRIFED has entered into MoU with different ministries where in convergences are proposed to further develop the value chain for the established Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters. Currently in Assam, under convergence with MSME Ministry, 100 trainings have been identified. Under the SFURTI scheme, 2 proposals are under development. In convergence with MoFPI, 10 Mini-TRIFOOD units have been proposed and with 4 Honey FPOs have been allocated, in conjunction with Ministry of Agriculture.
With regard to the intervention “Marketing and Logistics Development for promoting tribal products from North Eastern Region”, it will be implemented across all the 8 North Eastern States including Assam. Through that TRIFED will procure tribal products worth Rs. 6.625 Cr. from over 250 Tribal suppliers in the next year. These products will be sold through the chain of Tribes India outlets. There are plans of setting up new Tribes India outlets in the major cities/towns of Assam. A Tribal Mall is being planned to be opened to promote tribal artisans and create a brand recognition for the heritage products that the tribals produce. To preserve the tribal heritage and generate local employment, at the same time protecting the interests of tribal producers, TRIFED is also working towards promoting Geographical Indication products in the State of Assam. 11 new products have been identified for GI tagging and more number of tribal suppliers will be supported to register as authorized users.
The fruitful meeting thus outlined the plans that TRIFED has in the state of Assam and the Hon’ble CM’s support was sought. It is hoped that the implementation of these beneficial schemes can be accelerated with to the leadership and patronage of the Hon’ble CM, the entire tribal population in Assam will be benefitted.
TRIFED continues to work towards a complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem across the country!