WHY QUANTIFY “Minor Forest Products (MFP)”

Tenurial security in forest resources ensures livelihood and critically important positive ecological outcomes. There is increasing evidence that communities with secure titles over forest resources are more adept at managing forest resources, thus enabling them to secure enhanced livelihood outcomes and positive ecological results. For example, possessing Community Forest Rights (CFR) titles has enabled communities in Gadchiroli district in the Indian state of Maharashtra, to obtain enhanced livelihood in the form of increased earnings from Minor Forest Products (MFPs) such as Tendu (Beedi leaves) and Bamboo. Being in control of Tendu and Bamboo sales allows the forest communities of Gadchiroli to achieve equitable, quick and salutary distribution of monetary gains for themselves.

In order to ensure that the sale of MFPs such as Mahua, Beheda, Harda and Aonla leads to better livelihood outcomes for forest communities, record-keeping of MFPs collected by each household in the village, assumes primary importance and is highly recommended. Such record-keeping of MFPs for every household, can provide vital information about the MFPs collected by the household, the amount consumed by the household, and the resultant surplus that can be sold in the open market. Further, such information at the household level can help determine the total quantity available for an entire village or a cluster of villages.

To illustrate, the Korchi Maha Gram Sabha, a federation of 87 Gram Sabhas with CFR titles, is partnering with the Indian School of Business (ISB) in working towards the quantification of MFPs in traditionally accessed forest areas, based on households. This partnership emerged out of a meeting of several Gram Sabha Clusters, mentor NGOs, and social organizations working in Northern Gadchiroli that includes the blocks of Korchi, Kurkheda, Dhanora, Panch Gaon and several others. Held during May 22-23, 2018, at Yerandi village in Kurkheda block, this partnership is designed to work collectively in joint consultative process, and to benefit from the current consultations of Gram Sabhas that are held at regular intervals to exchange experiences and best practices.

ISB is committed to providing manpower and the required resources for survey design, survey administration, and all data collection of MFPs, most of which are currently under community ownership and management. Quantification of MFPs has begun from October 2018 after an MoU was signed between the ISB and the Korchi Maha Gram Sabha along with its mentor, an NGO called Amhi Amchya Arogyasathi.

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