Published: Friday 15 October 1999

In order to explore avenues for minor forest produce, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the assistance of the Indian government, has prepared an action plan for non-wood forest products (NWFP).

The plan will be implemented in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The UNDP is addressing environmental concerns under its Growth with Equity programme. The project hopes to ensure sustainable use of natural resources and help authorities concerned to address environmental issues. The plan will help the forest departments of the two states to enhance their capacity in developing decision-making support tools for appropriate planning of NWFP resources. It also hopes to increase rural income and forest biodiversity. According to officers involved in the project, the beneficiaries in the first phase will be rural and tribal people, particularly women.

Planners are hoping that the NWFP-based industries will also benefit from the programme. Officials added that the project is linked to World Bank too. The project also hopes to improve the management of the forest sector and influence policy framework. The tribal people in this region have traditionally been dependent on NWFP for food, medicine and even aromatic plants.

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