Tribal ministry adds 17 new minor forest produce to the government’s minimum support price scheme, increases MSP of some already under the scheme
At a time when the Union government is scrambling to fix its rural agenda, it has declared inclusion of 17 new minor forest produce (MFP) under the government’s minimum support price scheme.
The new MFP under the scheme includes Mahua flowers (dried), Tejpatta (dried) and Kokum (dry). On December 27, the ministry of tribal affairs made the announcement, while also increasing the MSP of MFPs already included in the scheme since 2013.
In 2013-14, the government had for the first time declared MSP for MFP, after years of demands by forest dwelling communities. MFPs contribute up to 80 per cent of tribal communities’ cash income.
A Planning Commission report had noted that MFP contributes to 20 to 40 per cent of the income of forest-dependent communities, especially the landless with a dominant population of tribals, and “provides critical subsistence during lean seasons.”
The MFP economy, however, is also known to suffer from unorganised and uncertain market demands, affecting economic returns to these communities.
The Pricing Cell, constituted by the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd (TRIFED), recommended inclusion of new MFPs under the scheme, given their importance to the economy of local communities.
Government has also increased the MSP of 23 MFPs already included under the scheme. Tamarind, mahua seed and sal seed have registered the maximum increase—the MSP of Tamarind has gone up by 75 per cent, while that of mahua seed has gone up by 25 per cent.
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