The central government on Friday announced inclusion of 23 additional minor forest produce (MFP) items under a centrally-sponsored scheme aimed at ensuring fair returns to tribal MFP gatherers. This decision to increase the listed MFP items from 50 to 73 comes in view of the "exceptional and very difficult" circumstances currently prevailing in the country on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the potential of the scheme to offer the much-needed support to the tribal population, the Tribal Affairs Ministry said in a statement. The 23 new MFP items include van tulsi seeds, van jeera, tamarind seed, bamboo brooms, and seed lac. The government had in 2011 introduced the Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support Price and development of Value Chain of MFP to provide a social safety net to these underprivileged forest dwellers, and to aid in their empowerment.
TRIFED, the apex national organisation involved in the improvement of the livelihood and empowerment of these tribal people, is the nodal agency for the implementation of the scheme.
Under the scheme, 1,126 Van Dhan Kendras have been set up as tribal start-ups onboarding over 3.6 lakh beneficiaries. Many of these units have commenced production and started sales of their value-added products.
Earlier this month, the ministry had increased the minimum support price of the existing 50 MFPs.
The increase, which ranged from 16 to 66 per cent, is also expected to provide an immediate and much-needed momentum to the procurement of MFP items across all state, the government said.
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