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In the latest set of lockdown relaxations, the Ministry of Home Affairs has added the collection, harvesting and processing of minor forest produce to the list of activities that will be permitted.

Exclusions in the Lockdown

  • The new MHA guidelines have also expanded the types of plantations that will be permitted to resume activities with half their workforce from April 20 onwards.
  • Earlier, tea, coffee and rubber plantations were given exemptions from the lockdown.
  • Now, bamboo, cocoa, arecanut, and spices plantations — most of which are clustered in the southern States — will be added to the list, along with their harvesting, processing, packaging, sale and marketing.
  • Cooperative credit societies, which are crucial to provide crop loans to farmers, will be exempted.
  • Non- banking financial institutions, including housing finance companies and microfinance institutions, will also be allowed to function with a bare minimum of staff, the guidelines said.
  • The Home Ministry also added to the list of construction activities in rural areas which will be exempted from the lockdown from April 20. They now include construction projects related to water supply and sanitation, as well as the installation of power transmission lines and telecom optic fibre and cable.

Minor Forest Produce

Minor forest produce includes non-timber items such as bamboo and other grasses, edible or useful roots, seeds, fruits, flowers and plants.

A number of people from scheduled tribes and other forest dwelling communities depend on the collection and sale of such items for their livelihood.

MSP for MFP

  • Minimum Support Price Scheme (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is a centrally-sponsored scheme aimed to ensure fair and remunerative price to MFP gatherers.
  • The MSP for MFP scheme was first launched in 2013 but the severe gaps in its implementation led to the programme remaining dormant. To revitalize the programme the revised guidelines had been issued in 2019.

Implementing agency: TRIFED

TRIFED

  • TRIFED is The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India.
  • It was established in 1987. It became operational from April 1988.
  • The basic objective of the TRIFED is to provide good price of the ‘Minor Forest Produce (MFP) collected by the tribes of the country.
  • TRIFED is a national level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Objectives of the TRIFED are;

1. To provide fair price to the ‘Minor Forest Produce (MFP) collected by the tribes and enhance their level of income.

2. To ensure sustainable harvesting of ‘Minor Forest Produce (MFP).

3. To save the tribes from the exploitation of the business mediators who purchase the products of the tribes at cheap rate and sell at the higher prices. So TRIFED removed the mediators.

4. If the price of the products fluctuates then TRIFED arranges compensation for the tribes from the Ministry of Agriculture.

5. TRIFED also assures the tribes for purchasing their products at a particular price, primary processing of products, storage of products and transportation etc.

6. TRIFED provides information related to fair price markets for the ‘Minor Forest Produce (MFP). Like tribes of all over country sell their products in the trade fair organised at the Pragati Maidan, New Delhi every year.

7. TRIFED helps in increasing the bargaining power of the tribes to fetch good price of the MFP.

8. TRIFED provides adequate training to the tribes to make value addition to their products.

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