Introduction to Haat Bazaar
Almost 60-70% income of the forest dwellers depends on the collection and sale of minor forest produce (MFP) which is part of their subsistence-level income. The MFP collected is traded over approx. 5,000 village markets or the “haat bazars” deep inside forest areas. These are weekly markets that take place in open grounds. Haat Bazars play an important role in the aggregation of MFP produce for forward linkages and facilitating tribal MFP gatherers in the direct sale of their produce to consumers/bulk consumers and reducing intermediaries. Recent estimates by TRIFED indicate the trade value at approx. Rs. 20,000 Crores for 55 economically important MFPs.
Tribal commerce is transacted at the haat bazaars and tribal-centric intervention, therefore, has to begin here. A tribal-centric micro-market reform, for the Haat Bazars located deep inside the forest is needed. The majority of the existing Haat bazaars, however, largely remain unorganized. These lack proper oversight-systems and institutional mechanisms for the orderly sale-purchase transactions of the MFP produce. The context encourages unfair trade practices, as a result of which the middleman gains whereas the tribal MFP gatherer has to be content with less than 20% worth value of their produce.The Haat Bazars located at the village level will initiate and service transactions at terminal destinations, and with other primary and secondary markets. And there is a need for the Gram Panchayat / Gram Sabha to carry their mandated functions as per PESA, 1996. This will efficiently and effectively link the production and consumption centres maximising returns to the MFP gatherers.
Enactment of Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension of the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA 1996) inter-alia empowers the Gram Panchayats and Sabhas in Scheduled Areas with the ownership of minor forest produce and power to manage village markets and exercise control over local plans and resources for such plan.
Further development in this direction is the enactment of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 which has vested the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers with right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce
MSP for MFP Scheme guidelines explicitly mention following two components with respect to Haat Bazaar and Storage Facilities
1) Modernizations of Haats :
1.Modernizations of Haats
The identified MFPs will be procured from the gatherers at village/ haat level centres where the gatherers bring their produce after collection, drying, cleaning & grading for sale. State agencies have to establish adequate number of such procurement centres. In some States, the Governments have already taken measures to provide facilities like construction of platforms, shades, etc. However, in many other States, purchase & sale of commodities (MFP/SAP etc.)in haats is done in open and thus buyers and sellers have to face lot of problems during rainy & hot summer season. In order to improve the condition of these places and establish a formal structure where trading can take place in a systematic manner Haats shall be modernized. Modernisation of haats will be done by State agencies in consultation with Gram Sabha/ Panchayat and District Administration.
2. Creation of storage facilities at aggregation points
The stocks procured by State designated agencies in each haat bazaar may be too small and therefore, would need to be transported to the aggregation centres from where bulk quantity will be transported to the centrally located godown/ cold storage exist or to be provided. Therefore, it is essential to establish a godown of 50 MTs at block level to aggregate the stocks procured at each haat. The cost of land and recurring expenses will be met by respective State agencies.
The idea is to establish an infrastructures where examples of livelihood through value addition shall be created. Such examples shall be replicated at other places on its success.
Modernization of Haat Bazaar / Small Godown under MSP for MFP scheme.-
Madhya Pradesh takes a lead ahead – “Apni Dukaan Initiative ”
There are two types of interventions done by MPMFP Federation with the financial support of TRIFED.
1. Modernization of Haat Bazaars: Under this model MPMFP Federation developed ‘Apni Dhukan’ near to selected Haat Bazaars. These units will be used for the procurement of MFPs from the collectors at MSP rate, which is declared by the government.
2. Small Godowns ( Capacity up to 50 MT): These Godowns are constructed for storing the MFPs collected from Haat Bazaars. One Godown will be linked to two or three Modernized Haat Bazaars.