What is a minor forest produce? Who can benefit?
Minor Forest Produce(MFP) includes a variety of products like non-timber items such as bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins, etc. Many kinds of nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, tusser also constitute part of Minor Forest Produce.
Every year there used to be amendments in the quantity of Minor Forest Produce by the concerned authority, till January 2019, the toll reached to 70 with an increment of 20 new products compared to 2018, as it was just 50 in the year 2018. Moreover, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs announced the inclusion of further 23 commodities under Minor Forest Produce in May 2020.
The beneficiaries of these Minor Forest Produce are the people who live near or in the forest. They are crucially dependent on Minor Forest Produce for a variety of purposes. MFPs are the source of their subsistence and cash income. They get numerous products for their day to day requirement from forest only. Also, they earn cash income from Minor Forest Produce by selling them.
The government sets Minimum Selling Price, MSP for Minor Forest Produce. MSP is the minimum price at which the government purchase these MFP commodities from tribals and other people dwelling in the forest. There is a revision in the MSPs once in every three years based on so many factors. The revision of MSP is done by Pricing Cell constituted under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every sector of the society very badly and forest dwellers have not remained untouched from it. Therefore, in order to ward off their hardships to an extent, the government increased the Minimum selling Price much before the decided three-year duration. The increased minimum support price ranges from 16-66%.
Therefore, in general, the minor forest produce plays a vital role for everyone as they constitute products which are of prime importance in our day to day life. Also, there are certain products that give immense revenue to the government through their exports.
Especially, the Minor Forest Produce is very important for forest dwellers as the MFP is the only source of their income in order to live their livelihood. There are certain amendments in the previous decades in the laws related to Minor Forest Produce. Now, when the government is trying to assist farmers in every way possible then it is obvious that the forest dwellers are also in the mind of government.
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