In order to promote Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) for livelihood development of tribal people by promoting primary level value addition to MAPs produce from forest area, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), under Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
At the event marking the signing of the MoU, Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said that while tribal people have been growing medicinal plants, they are as yet unaware of the actual value of their produce. This MoU will help them realise the potential of their produce and help them achieve the true remuneration of their product.
The minister said just like Yoga, which had been present in India for centuries but gained prominence only after it was properly marketed, it is time to properly market the medicinal and aromatic plants grown by tribal people to help these products attain prominence. He forecast that through such efforts, with time, thousands of crores worth of investment will be driven in this sector and these products will soon reach the international arena.
Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik said that the MoU would help in employment generation and skill upgradation of tribal people and will prove to be beneficial for them. Minister of State for Tribal Affairs, Sudarshan Bhagat added that since most of the tribal people are associated with farming, this MoU is also a step in the direction of achieving the vision of Prime Minister of doubling the income of farmers.
Minor Forest Produce (MFP) are a major source of livelihood for tribals living in forest areas. The importance of MFPs for this section of the society can be gauged from the fact that around 100 million forest dwellers depend on MFPs for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. Tribals derive 20-40 percent of their annual income from MFP collection and sales. This activity has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the MFPs are collected and used and sold by women. MFP sector has the potential to create about 10 million workdays annually in the country.