Economy

COVID-19: Tribal handicraft worth Rs 100 cr unsold

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India to intervene, buy unsold items 

 
By Ishan Kukreti
Published: Thursday 23 April 2020
Source: Flickr

Tribal handicraft and handloom worth Rs 100 crore have found no buyers since the nationwide lockdown was imposed to curb the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, according to Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED). The produce is lying with the Union government.  

TRIFED markets tribal produce and comes under the Union tribal affairs ministry. 

On March 29, the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) cancelled its biggest handcraft fair to be held on April 15-19. 

Around 0.2-0.3 million tribal families across India produce handicraft and handloom, according to Pravir Krishan, managing director, TRIFED.

“We decided to buy the unsold items as we have budget of Rs 500 crore for it. We’ll scale up the operation in the future as well,” Krishan told Down to Earth.

The organisation has collaborated with Art of Living, an international non-profit, to provide cash to tribal artisans registered with TRIFED. 

“Over 1.25 lakh tribal artisans are registered with us. We will provide Rs 1,000 to those who need it as giving ration to people living deep inside the forests is not possible,” Krishan said. 

TRIFED has also tied up with 16 technology institutes such as the Indian Institute of Technology to provide training to tribal people to develop marketing, retailing and packaging skills. 

“We have tied up with these institutions to come up with a ‘Tech for Tribal’ program, where we’ll provide training to around 15,000 tribals to better manage and market their products,” he said. 

To ensure tribal livelihood, TRIFED on April 3 wrote to all states with a list of guidelines to ensure social distancing and hygiene during the collection process. 

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda, also wrote to the chief ministers of 15 states, urging them to collect non-timber forest products to sustain the tribal economy under lockdown. Munda also asked the states to undertake collection under Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana.  

“We have organised a virtual meeting with all members of parliament from tribal areas to discuss ways to ensure livelihood and safety of tribal communities in these times,” Krishna said. 

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