Wednesday, August 10, 2022

TRIFED joins hands with The LINK Fund to work towards tribal development

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New Delhi: TRIFED has been focusing its efforts on finding new ways to improve the lives and the livelihoods of the tribal people. With this objective in mind, TRIFED has now entered into a collaborative project titled “Sustainable Livelihoods for Tribal Households in India” with The LINK Fund, a philanthropic operational foundation that is mandated to eradicate extreme poverty and mitigate the effects of climate change.

TRIFED and The LINK Fund have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on April 29 to work together towards tribal development and employment generation by providing support to tribals for increasing value addition in their produce and products, sustainable livelihoods and value addition for an increase in income and employment generation through technological intervention for efficiency in value addition for MFPs, produce and crafts diversification, skill training and enhancement of value additions in minor forest produce.

The MoU has been signed by TRIFED's Managing Director Pravir Krishna (IAS) and The LINK Fund's CEO and Co-founder Tony Kalm and was attended by senior officials of TRIFED and The LINK Fund. As a part of this association, both the organisations will also work together to creating women-centred infrastructure and innovation and entrepreneurship. The LINK Fund (TLS) is a practitioner-led fund that is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and works to end extreme poverty and mitigate the effects of climate change.

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During the virtual meeting, Krishna spoke about the various initiatives, especially the Van-Dhan startups which has become a pivotal source in generating employment opportunities among the tribal artisans and forest gatherers. “The empowerment of the tribal people is the main objective of TRIFED. All our efforts, be it in getting better prices for their produce, helping them add value to the basic produce, or enabling them to get access to larger markets, or collaborations such as these are targeted at achieving this. We are happy to collaborate with the LINK Fund to provide the latest and best support to the tribals of India,” he said.

Kalm mentioned that 'The LINK Fund' is excited to commence the intervention working in close coordination with TRIFED’s leadership team and to draw out a detailed project implementation plan, estimate budgetary estimates for impactful interventions and to mobilise funds etc. The LINK Fund has committed to bringing in its technical expertise also into the programme. He also reaffirmed his organisation’s commitment to the project. He added that learning while doing will be the mode given the segment of the community (tribals) being served and market development for NTFP products as raw materials and finished products will be an important aspect of the intervention.

Among its flagship programmes and implementations, the ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme, in particular, has impacted the tribal ecosystem as never before. Implemented by TRIFED in association with the state government agencies across 21 states of the country, the scheme has injected more than Rs 3,000 crore directly into the tribal economy since April 2020. Aided by the government push in May 2020 wherein the prices of Minor Forest Produce (MFPs) were increased by up to 90 percent and the inclusion of 23 new items in the MFP list, this flagship scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which draws its strength from The Forest Rights Act of 2005, aims to provide remunerative and fair prices to tribal gatherers of forest produces.

The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras/ tribal start-ups, also a component of the same scheme, further complements MSP beautifully and has emerged as a source of employment generation for tribal gatherers and forest dwellers and the home-bound tribal artisans. The beauty of the programme is that it ensures that the proceeds from the sales of these value-added products go to the tribals directly.

To take this to the next logical phase, TRIFED is exploring convergences with organisations, government and non-government and academic, to continue its mission towards tribal empowerment. The aim is to pool strengths together and undertake work that will help in boosting the income and livelihoods of the tribal people. Both teams from TRIFED and the LINK Fund will immediately get on with detailing the Action plan – which will be reviewed week-on-week basis. A project steering committee is also being formed with members from both organisations. Once the appropriate regulatory approvals are obtained from the government of India, the financial interventions will commence.

With the successful implementation of this collaboration, TRIFED aims to contribute to the transformation of tribal lives.

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