Tribal areas have ramped up income generation activity after the government announced a hike in MSP for minor forest produce to help tribals tide over the coronavirus pandemic.
Tribal areas have ramped up income generation activity after the government announced a hike in MSP for minor forest produce to help tribals tide over the coronavirus pandemic. “There has been an encouragingly positive response from the states as the government continues its efforts to help the poor and marginalized people find their feet in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Ministry of Tribal Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday. Earlier, the government had asked states to increase MSP for procurement of minor forest produce. Since then, 17 states have initiated procurement with Rs 50 crore worth of minor forest produce already being collected.
On 1 May, 2020, the government had released a list of 50 MFPs whose prices were revised upwards by 30-90%. The government had also expanded the list of MFP items with the addition of 23 more forest products such as turmeric, cardamom, jeera etc. This inclusion incorporated agriculture and horticulture produce from North Eastern States which are collected by tribals. As the country went into a lockdown on 24th March 2020, the government moved to help tribals as a lack of the same would have resulted into tribal seeking middle men to sell their produce, Pravir Krishna, managing director, TRIFED, said.
“TRIFED, under the aegis of the Ministry of Tribal Affairshad advised the state governments to plan the effective implementation of MSP for MFP by leveraging funds under Article 275 (I) grants to ensure both immediate income generation in the short term and sustained livelihoods by supporting Van Dhan value addition activities,” the statement said. With the government initiative, seven private state agencies procured minor forest produce to the tune of over Rs 400 crore above MSP.
Most of the tribal income comes from minor forest produce and the income generation activities touch their peak in the months of April-June. In order to empower tribal areas, the government had also approved the guidelines of the MFP at MSP scheme to support gatherers of forest produce and to introduce value addition and marketing through tribal groups and clusters.