TRIFED undertakes activities with respect to its two main divisions viz. Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development and Retail Marketing and Development.
Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development
An important source of livelihood for tribal people are non-wood forest products, generally termed Minor Forest Produce (MFP). This includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and include bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, and tussar.
The Minor Forest Produces provide both subsistence and cash income for people who live in or near forests. They form a major portion of their food, fruits, medicines and other consumption items and also provide cash income through sales.
According to the Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, 2011, an estimated 100 Million people derive their source of livelihood from the collection and marketing of Minor Forest Produce. They depend on this source for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. Approximately 20-40% of their annual income is derived from Minor Forest Produce.
It has also been observed that most of the Minor Forest Produces are collected and used/sold by women, thus having a deep linkage to women’s empowerment.
Retail Marketing and Development
TRIFED aims to improve the livelihood of the tribal communities by creating a sustainable market and create business opportunities for tribal people. It involves exploring marketing possibilities for marketing of tribal products on a sustainable basis, creating brand and providing other necessary services. It has a network of 14 regional offices across the country which identifies and source tribal products for marketing through its retail marketing network of 73 TRIBES INDIA outlets.
It has been undertaking sourcing of various handicraft, handloom and natural & food products through TRIFED has been marketing tribal products through its Retail Outlets located across the country and also through exhibitions. It has established a chain of 35 own showrooms and 8 consignment showrooms in association with State level Organisations promoting tribal handicrafts.
Some of the main activities are listed below:
Empanelment of Tribal Producer/Tribal Artisans
TRIFED has developed a system of sourcing products through its empanelled tribal suppliers. These suppliers comprise of individual tribal artisans, tribal SHGs, organisations/ agencies/NGOs working with tribals and are empanelled as per the guidelines for empanelment of suppliers. (attached in document)
The suppliers are identified by TRIFED by way of entering into institutional arrangements with Central/State Departments/ Organisations/ reputed NGOs for bringing their tribal artisans in ambit of tribal operations.
Approaching district Collectors /ITDA and district level officers who work with tribal artisans, contacting craft persons, artisans who have been trained by TRIFED and other organisations, field visits and organising of Tribal Artisan Melas (TAMs) are some other methods employed by TRIFED to identify suitable suppliers.
Nodal Agency for implementing the MSP for Minor Forest Produce (MSP) and VanDhan Vikas Karyakram
Transformative growth of tribal community is seen to be centric to the development of Minor Forest Produces (MFP) The collection and sale of MFPs contribute to roughly 40% to 60% of the annual earnings of the tribal people, women in particular. Women in tribal areas are the ones who primarily collect, process, use and sell the minor forest produces. It has been seen that the people who depend on MFP are generally beset with a number of problems such as perishable nature of the produce, lack of holding capacity, lack of marketing infrastructure, exploitation by middlemen.
Due to this, the MFP gatherers who are mostly poor are unable to bargain for fair prices.
To cope with the above problem, the Government of India launched the Scheme for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Value chain Development in 2014. TRIFED is the nodal agency for implementing the MSP for Minor Forest Produce (MSP) Scheme and the Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY)
The scheme was designed as a social safety net for improvement of livelihood of MFP gatherers by providing them a fair price for the MFPs they collect. The MSP For MFP Scheme was proposed to be a holistic one aimed at the development of Minor Forest Produce trade to cover non-nationalised/ non-monopolised minor forest produce. However, it has been seen that in the past five years, benefits have not percolated down to reach the expected levels of tribal gatherer engagement. While according to the scheme, tribals have been made owners of MFP in their areas and MSP has been announced for several MFPs, the ownership is still largely notional. The MSP for MFP scheme still operates as a mere safety net whereas it needs to become a driver.
Development of value chain in MFP along with trainings for tribal gatherers, infrastructure support (storage, warehouses etc.), clustering them for improving their bargaining power, giving them access to timely credits are some of the components that need to be in place for realizing the intended benefits of the scheme and benefit the tribal population.
To strengthen these aspects of the Scheme, the training and value addition component has been revamped as Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY). The Van Dhan Karyakram under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs will establish 50,000 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVK) in the tribal areas across the country to ensure livelihood generation and empowerment of the tribal people.
To make the Van Dhan Vikas Karyakram achieve its stated objectives, TRIFED has initiated special programmes in which the VDVK leadership is trained in Quality Certifications such as Food Safety and Standards Authority of India ( FSSAI ) for greater product acceptance.