Chhattisgarh tops in Minor Forest Produce procurement
State's Vananchal project becoming an attraction for entrepreneurs
15 entrepreneurs have given proposal regarding capital investment of 75 crores to state government for setting up forest produce based industries
Raipur, 24 January 2021
Due to the abundance of Minor Forest Produce in Chhattisgarh and adequate arrangements for its purchase at support price by the state government, the lives of forest dwellers in the state are getting better. The revolutionary decisions made by the Chhattisgarh government under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Bhupesh Baghel to revive the lives of forest dwellers and minor forest produce collectors in the last two years, have now made minor forest produce a valuable product, which was earlier sold at a lesser price.
The forest produce collectors of the state are deriving direct benefit out of it. This is the reason that Chhattisgarh has become the top state in the country in terms of collection of Minor Forest Produce. Chhattisgarh has established a new record by purchasing 73 percent of the country's forest produce. Chhattisgarh is the only state in the country where 52 types of minor forest produce are being purchased at a support price. Due to this, the forest dwellers and forest produce collectors are getting direct benefits.
The Government of Chhattisgarh has taken an initiative in the direction of value addition of small forest produce along with it's purchase on support price. Vananchal project has been started in the state. The purpose of this project is to provide direct and indirect employment opportunities by establishing small forest produce based industries in forest area for value addition of small forest produce collected by forest dwellers. The Government of Chhattisgarh has made provisions for giving many types of discounts and attractive packages, in the new industry policy of the state for the promotion of small forest produce based industries. Due to this, entrepreneurs are now getting attracted to set up forest produce based industries in forest areas. So far, 15 entrepreneurs have given application to the State Government with a proposal to invest Rs 75 crore for setting up various types of forest produce based industries in Vananchal areas
On the special initiative of Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel, to provide the forest produce collectors, the right pay for their hard work, the purchase price of minor forest produce has been increased. The rate of tendu leaf collection has been increased from Rs 2500 per standard bag to Rs 4000 per standard bag. As a result, about 12 lakh tendu leaf collector families of the state have received additional wages of Rs 225 crore per year as well as additional incentive remuneration bonus of Rs 232 crore. The support price of Mahua has been increased from Rs. 17 to Rs. 30 per kg, tamarind support price increased from Rs. 25 per to Rs. 36 per kg and Chironji kernels price has been increased from Rs. 93 to Rs. 126 per kg. Similarly, the purchase price for Rangini Lakh has been increased from Rs. 130 per kg to Rs. 220 per kg, Kusmi Lakh has been increased from Rs. 200 per kg to Rs. 300 per kg, honey has been increased from Rs. 195 to Rs. 225 per kg. These decisions have directly benefited 5 lakh rural families. By the increase in the minimum support price of other forest produce and arranging for purchase, the villagers are now getting additional benefits of about Rs 300 crore.
At present, only five percent of the forest produce stored in the state is processed in the state. With a view to change this situation, the state government has started the Vananchal project, in order to encourage forest produce based industry in the areas like Bastar, an attractive subsidy has been provided. Encouraged by this scheme, 15 entrepreneurs have given their consent to set up small forest produce based industries in Bastar region. The MoU is under process with them. Under the forest produce based industries, industries of tamarind, mahua, tora, harra, bahera, la, essential oil, munga, kodo kutki, ragi aag guthli, cashew nut, bhilwa etc. will be set up. With the establishment of these industries in Bastar, the villagers here will not only get additional employment, but there will be a constant demand for forest produce.
Apart from the forest produce derived from Vananchal, with the establishment of these industries, farmers of Bastar region will also be able to cultivate herbs like Munga, Lemon Grass, Satwar, Patchouli, Vetiver, White Musli, Pipli and Ashwagandha. This will give them twice as much income as other crops. These crops will produce essential oils, aromatic oils and pharmaceutical products, which have huge potential for export outside the country.