TRIFED to sign MoU with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir for the implementation of Van Dhan Yojana

New Delhi:  As a part of its mission to improve the livelihoods of the tribals (both forest dwellers and artisans) and work towards tribal empowerment, TRIFED has been carrying out several programmes and initiatives. One such initiative is the Van Dhan programme, which TRIFED is spearheading in 25 States and 307 Districts with availability of MFPs as well as significant forest dwelling tribal population.

TRIFED and Government of Jammu and Kashmir will soon enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of the Van Dhan Yojana and to promote tribal enterprise in the region. 11.91% of the total population of Jammu & Kashmir constitutes of Scheduled Tribes according to 2011 Census. The tribal dominated districts in J & K include Kupwara, Baramula, Badgam, Rajauri, Udhampur and Kathua. Most of the tribal areas consist of dense forests and hills which also provides for the availability of MFPs in abundance. Apart from this the valley is also known for its richness in art and craft. The tribals residing in this region are skilled in making traditional artefacts with limited reach to the market.

TRIFED’s intervention envisages to establish 1500 VDSHGs that can nurture 30,000 tribal startups in the UT. This is aimed to enhance the existing skill set of tribals, and inculcate entrepreneurial skills among them and help their produces reach national and international markets. The plan has been set in motion with the visit of Sh. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Secretary Tribal Affairs, J&K, to TRIFED Head Office on October 4, 2021 where the Blue Print plan on implementation of Van Dhan Program in Jammu & Kashmir was exchanged with Sh. Pravir Krishna, MD, TRIFED.

The Van Dhan Yojana is a component of ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ (MSP for MFP scheme). The fundamental model of this scheme is to set-up tribal community-owned Van Dhan Vikas Kendra Clusters (VDVKCs) in predominantly forested tribal districts, where one VDVK Cluster shall constitute of 15 Van Dhan Self Help Groups, each comprising of up to 20 NTFP gatherers i.e. about 300 beneficiaries.

With the objective of holistic development of tribal gatherers, TRIFED has also collaborated with Ministry of Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) for the Entrepreneurship-cum-skill development program (ESDP) enhancing the capacity of tribals to develop, manage and organise a business venture while keeping in mind the risks associated with it, thus, transforming them into entrepreneurs. Under the ‘Tech for Tribal’ initiative of TRIFED not only the trainings are being conducted but demonstrative tool kits to the trainees is being distributed as well for promoting adoption of scientific techniques among them. The implementation has led to the emergence and success of tribal-startups in multiple states.

Through this initiative, TRIFED will directly benefit 2,50,000 tribals in Jammu & Kashmir. In addition to this TRIFED aims to set up 2 TRIFOOD Parks with 10,000 gatherers each, open 5 retail outlets in the valley and empanel 1000 suppliers whose products will be sourced and marketed through Tribes India chain of retail outlets and online on www.tribesindia.com. The traditional products from the UT will be a part of items on display at the Atmanirbhar Bharat corner of TRIFED in Indian Missions abroad which will give these tribal handlooms and handicrafts from J&K a global exposure.

TRIFED will also facilitate setting up of PMU in the UT for better execution of tribal development activities helping in all round welfare of regional tribal communities. Similar efforts have been initiated in Leh and Ladakh as well and a team from TRIFED will be visiting the UT in the next week for doing the ground work needed to link the traditional knowledge and skills of the tribals to the international market by encouraging value addition and resulting in higher sales of products through branding and packaging. TRIFED has been already sourcing the dry fruits, Pashmina, apricot juice etc. from the region. With the onboarding of this region under the gamut of this scheme, TRIFED aims to benefit a larger number of tribals through its initiatives.
TRIFED continues to work towards generating income and livelihoods for tribal people through such flagship schemes like the MSP for MFP and the Van Dhan Yojana.

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