Importance of MFPs   

An estimated 100 million people derive their source of livelihood directly from the collection and marketing of MFPs (Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, 2011). According to a World Bank estimate, the MFP economy is fragile but supports close to 275 million people in rural India (quoted in 'Down To Earth' Report, November 1-15 2010) - a significant part of which comprises the tribal population.

MFPs provide essential nutrition to people living in forested areas, and are used for household purposes, thus forming an important part of their non-cash income. For many tribal communities who practice agriculture, MFPs are also a source of cash income, especially during slack seasons. The economic dependence of tribal communities on MFPs can be understood from the following Table.

Economically Important MFPs

Seasons MFPs collected Economy
January- March Lac (resin), mahuwa, flower and tamarind Over 75 per cent of tribal households in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh collect mahuwa flower and earn Rs.5000 a year. 3 million people are involved in lac production
April-June Tendu leaves, sal seeds and chironji 30 million forest dwellers depend on seeds, leaves and resins from sal trees; tendu leaf  collection provides about 90 days of employment to 7.5 million people, a further 3 million people are employed in bidi processing
July-September Chironji, mango, mahuwa fruits, silk cocoons and bamboo 10 million people depend on bamboo for livelihood;
1,26,000 households are involved in tussar silk cultivation only
October-November Lac, kullu gum, resins used in incense sticks 3 lakh person days of employment from collection of gums.

MFPs are especially important for the poorest households living in forested areas, especially women. A research study (The Livelihood School, BASIX, 2010) shows that in Chhattisgarh, the involvement of women in the MFP economy is very high, tribal households depend on the MFP economy more than non-tribal households and poorer households more than comparatively better-off ones. The MFP economy is a critical one for the most vulnerable sections of society. Further, a list of the important MFPs, in terms of their collection potential besides importance for livelihood.

S.No. Commodity Estimated Production Potential Estimated Collection Potential
Qty in Lakh MTs Value in Rs Crores Qty in Lakh MTs Value in Rs Crores
1. Tamarind 2.00 240.00 2.00 240.00
2. Mahuwa Flower 1.50 122.00 1.00 81.00
3. Mahuwa Seed 1.00 110.00 0.50 55.00
4. Sal Seed 1.60 160.00 1.00 100.00
5. Tendu 80
(In standard bags)
1040.00 40
(In standard bags)
6. Bamboo 48.00 12.00 12.00 300.00
7. Karanjaaa Seed 0.40 40.00 0.25 25.00
8. Myrobalan 1.30 78.00 0.75 45.00
9. Chironjee 0.10 230.00 0.05 110.00
10. Lac (Stick Lac) 0.25 150.00 0.20 120.00
11. Gum Karaya 0.05 62.00 0.03 37.00
12. Wild Honey 0.30 270.00 0.25 230.00
13. Puwad Seed 0.50 50.00 0.20 20.00
14. Neem Seed 0.25 25.00 0.25 25.00
1900 Crores


14 more items have been included in the MFP list as of November 2020. This can be viewed at this link.