The Tribal Affairs Department in coordination with Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India is working on modalities for support to tribal groups for Minor Forest Produce and other traditional sectors. The scheme will extend financial and guidance infrastructure support for various economic activities based on MFP and traditional economic activities.

Secretary, Tribal Affairs department, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary held a detailed meeting with TRIFED team led by GM Sandeep Pahalwan to finalise the modalities for signing an MoU between J&K Government and TRIFED aimed at empowering the tribal communities by providing financial support and infrastructure for various minor forest produce and promotion of traditional handicrafts and art. The MoU will enable Minimum Support Price (MSP) to be offered to tribal farmers and gatherers which will be funded on 75:25 formula with 75% funds provided by TRIFED and 25% by J&K Govt.

Pertinently the tribal affairs department has already written to District Development Commissioners and forest department for district wise details of Minor Forest Produce and plan for infrastructure development including development of processing centres and value addition system. Implementation of The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to pave way for rights over minor forest produce to be extended to tribal communities for which tribal department will offer minimum support price for procurement and also provide infrastructure development support.

Every group of 15 Tribal SHGs will be provided a grant of Rs 15 Lakh as revolving fund by TRIFED while the tribal affairs department in coordination with district administration will provide infrastructure for SHGs. The Van Dhan Yojana or Van Dhan Scheme, a component of the The ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP will be extended to Jammu and Kashmir by Government of India after signing of MoU which will help empower the tribal farmers, gatherers and artisans.

Under the new initiative department in coordination with TRIFED is targeting livelihood generation for tribal farmers, artisans and gatherers and transforming them into entrepreneurs.The idea is to set-up tribal community-owned Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters (VDVKCs) in predominantly forested tribal districts and tribal majority pockets covering several districts including Rajouri, Poonch, Reasi, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Udhampur, Doda, Ramban, Bandipora, Budgam and Kupwara

TRIFED will support branding and marketing plan of tribal SHGs which will include Procurement of Equipment (through GeM/ tendering by SIA/DIU), Identification of Master Trainers, Training in Value addition, Use of equipment, Enterprise Management, Identification of local, district level, state level, national, global buyers for MFP Value Added Products, Arrangement for Logistics & Transportations and support for Branding & Marketing.

The tribal affairs department is initiating process for identification and registration of tribal artisans, gatherers and farmers under the scheme for supporting collection and marketing of MFP, support for infrastructure required for tribal Handlooms and handicrafts, value addition and marketing linkages. Department is also focusing empowerment of tribal women and endeavours to engage them in profitable economic activities in coordination with TRIFED.

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