Several social activists on Monday expressed serious concern over fall in the production of gums and resins in the tribal areas of the State.

At a State level two-day workshop on `Gums and resins – conservation and livelihoods,' former Union Power Secretary E.A.S. Sarma called for intensified efforts for conservation of trees fetching gums and resins providing livelihood to several tribals.

Gums and resins are among the important non-timber forest products in India. Their importance can be observed in many areas like livelihood security of people dependent on forests especially in the tribal economy. Its usage in the traditional system of medicine and industrial productions is of tremendous economic value.

The workshop is being organised by Kovel Foundation, a trust by the indigenous people for research on sustainable technologies with support from Cordaid, Jamsetji Tata Trust and NABARD.

The meeting is part of an effort to address the concerns and focus on the need to increase awareness among various stakeholders from 15 districts, where gums and resins are harvested, through the Gums and Resins Desk of Kovel Foundation.

Girijan Cooperative Corporation General Manager A. Appa Rao said without proper conservation efforts, the future of tribals depending on gums and resins for a livelihood would be bleak. He said GCC was involving Integrated Tribal Development Agencies and NGOs like Kovel Foundation for training tribals in scientific methods in harvesting and extracting gums and resins. He said this year 10,000 tribals were being trained in three phases.

Kovel Foundation CEO V. Krishna Rao said the main objective of the two-day workshop was to discuss the prevailing issues in the gums and resins sub-sector besides identifying the opportunities, preparing a State level action plan integrating conservation and regeneration into livelihood portfolio and to send recommendations to the government.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests S.N. Jhadhav complimented Kovel Foundation for its efforts to promote sustainable technologies among tribals to arrest fall in production of non-timber forest produce.

Sodhana secretary P.D.K. Rao, Kovel Foundation chairman P.V. Chalapathi, trustee M. Yugandar Reddy and others were present.

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