Raipur: In what can be termed as a major fillip to the minor forest industry, the Chhattisgarh Government is looking to procure minor forest produce (MFP) that would benefit 17 lakh tribal families. It has a potential of Rs 1,200 cr. A majority of the tribal families gather tendu leaves. Chhattisgarh is the largest contributor to country’s non-timber forest produce pool.
It may be noted that the state government had earlier this month set a record of MFP procurement under the minimum support price (MSP) programme this financial year accounting for nearly 47,000 metric tonnes procured by the central government from across the country.
The Government plans to give a push to the sector by providing training and develop it as a separate economy as there are many MFP gatherers. The self-help groups (SHG) would be adequately trained, informed a senior official.
Chhattisgarh State Minor Forest Produce Trading and Cooperative Federation officials plan to procure MFP worth Rs 130 crore by March 2021. According to officials, 15 firms have expressed interest in setting up processing units worth Rs 76 crore. “The scope is immense as presently, only 5 per cent of gathered minor forest produce is processed at source,” said a senior official.
The government is looking to increase the number of groups (gatherers) and collection centres.