Andhra Pradesh

Tribals motivated to tap more natural resources

On growth path: Tribal women packing tamarind during a training organised by Asha, an NGO, in Chinturu.

On growth path: Tribal women packing tamarind during a training organised by Asha, an NGO, in Chinturu.   | Photo Credit: S. Rambabu

A collective push to generate more income for them

Untapped natural resources in the forest areas are the focal point for many years but no government agency has come forward to motivate tribals to tap these resources which will generate more income than the Minor Forest Produce (MFP).

The low level of awareness is a hurdle in taking any initiative for improvement of the tribals’ living conditions. The reality is that there are plenty of MFP which they collect and dispose of without making any value addition. And the other one is the Untapped Natural Resources (UNR) like the palmyra fibre, bamboo sheaths and leaves. Separation of the palmyra fibre is not in practice in these villages. Each village has nearly 3,000 to 4,000 trees but the valuable resource is going untapped.

In the entire Rampachodavaram Agency, particularly in the Chinturu Sub-Division, there are 3 to 5 hectors where raw material to make bamboo leaf cups, tiffin and buffet plates with sheaths, leaves and paper and other UNR are available with 3 years cycle.

The tribals are being trained in scientific and hygienic methods of collection and packing of tamarind to avoid over exploitation and make them quality conscious too. Guidelines for removal of foreign material, if any, and the tools and equipment like tarpaulin, gloves, and cutting tools are being provided by the local NGOs and the TRIFED.

NGOs like the Association for Social and Humanize Action (Asha), which is Chinturu based, is taking care of all the above aspects to strengthen the hands of the tribals by conducting regular camps and training programmes.

Sk. Subhani, director of Asha, said the tribals were also being trained in Mahua flower and bio-degradable cups.

The mahua flowers are one of the most important MFPs, playing a major role in the tribal economy. The Girijana Cooperative Corporation (GCC) purchases the flowers at a minimum support price to protect the tribals from exploitation by middleman. However, due to lack of suitable post-harvest processing technologies, most of the flowers get decomposed in the godowns.

The only industrial utilisation of these flowers is in the production of liquor, which is illegal.

To find out their potential in the food industry, the Asha proposes value addition to fresh flowers for developing a number of food products like laddu, halwa, juice concentrate, jam, jelly, sauce and mango-mahua leather.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 5:39:48 AM |

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