Revision and introduction of MSP for Minor Forest Produce items

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    3rd Jan, 2019
  • The Government has revised the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of 23 Minor Forest Produce (MFP) items and introduced MSP for 17 new MFP items.
  • The 23 items whose MSP has been revised include those MFP items which have been covered under the scheme since its inception in the year 2013-14.

Context

  • The Government has revised the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of 23 Minor Forest Produce (MFP) items and introduced MSP for 17 new MFP items.
  • The 23 items whose MSP has been revised include those MFP items which have been covered under the scheme since its inception in the year 2013-14.
  • The new MFPs include Mahua flowers (dried), Tejpatta (dried) Kokum (dry) etc.

About

What is Minor forest Produce?

  • It is a subset of forest produce.
  • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 defines a MFP as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, tusser, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots and more.

How does the concept of Minor Forest Produce come into existence?

  • The Forest Rights Act 2006, recognizes and vests individual forest-dwellers with forest rights to live in and cultivate forest land that was occupied before 13 December 2005 and grants community forest rights to manage, protect and regenerate the forest.
  • It also provides them right to own and dispose minor forest products from forests where they had traditional access.
  • The Act defines forest rights as inclusive of ‘Right of ownership, access to collect, use and dispose of minor forest produce which have traditionally been collected within or outside village boundaries’.
  • Individuals, communities and Gram sabhas having rights under this particular section of the Act will not only have the rights to use but also rights of ownership over MFPs.
  • This goes beyond the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA Act) which had authorised states to entrust Panchayats and Gram sabhas as the owners of MFP.
  • As per the Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, about 100 million people living in and around forests derive at least part of their livelihood from collection and marketing of non-timber forest products or MFPs.
  • This includes, in addition to tribals, dalits, other forest dwellers that have not been officially declared as tribals, women, and other marginalised groups.

How government secures the livelihood of these tribal communities besides recognising their rights over MFP?

  • The GOI has launched a central sector scheme for marketing of Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of value chain to ensure fair monetary returns to MFP gatherers for their efforts in collection, primary processing, storage, packaging, transportation etc.
  • The scheme envisages fixation and declaration of MSP for the selected MFP based on the suggestions /inputs received from Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) which came into existence in 1987, and the States concerned.
  • Procurement and marketing operation at pre- fixed MSP is undertaken by the designated State agencies.
  • TRIFED has also introduced the MFPnet portal which is designed to act as an adjunct and a catalyst for implementing the scheme of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP).
  • This portal provides information about TRIFED, MFP trade in India, marketing prospects for MFPs, MFP development training and TRIFED's retail marketing activities, MSP for MFPs and its current status.
  • It is intended with the main objective of ensuring fair price to MFP gatherers who are mainly tribals, enhancing their income level and ensuring sustainable harvesting of MFPs.
  • It is a one stop destination for all information needs on MFPs and facilitates stakeholders in MFP trade.

What is Minimum Support Price?

  • MSP is the minimum price set by the Government at which farmers can expect to sell their produce for the season. When market prices fall below the announced MSPs, procurement agencies step in to procure the crop and ‘support’ the prices.
  • The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs announces MSP for various crops at the beginning of each sowing season based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
  • The CACP takes into account demand and supply, the cost of production and price trends in the market among other things when fixing MSPs.
  • The FCI and Nafed help the Centre procure select food crops with the help of the States.
  • Procured farm products are kept in government warehouses and distributed through the PDS and various food security programmes.

Why is it important?

  • Price volatility makes life difficult for farmers. Though prices of agro commodities may soar while in short supply, during years of bumper production, prices of the very same commodities plummet.
  • MSPs ensure that farmers get a minimum price for their produce in adverse markets. MSPs have also been used as a tool by the Government to incentivise farmers to grow crops that are in short supply.
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