Scope of Self Employment in Non-Wood Forest Produce Sector

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Scope of Self Employment in Non-Wood Forest Produce Sector

Forests, have enormous potential to contribute to the upliftment of our rural economy.

“FOREST PRODUCE’, is defined as “all materials yielded by a forest estate” The Fourth world Forestry Congress (1954) recommended that minor forest produce may be called “Forest produce other than wood”.

Forest produces were 2 further classified as “major forest produce” and “minor forest produce” Timber and firewood were termed as major forest’ produce while all other items received from forest were termed as minor forest produce or Non- wood forest produce (NWFP).

Regeneration / cultivation of wild species for improved rural income and employment ensuring economic and social benefits without harmful ecological impacts and promoting improving market for trade in forest products through relevant institutions, policies and facilities.

It has also been recommended that non-timber forest produce / non wood forest produce have potential to bring about an economic revolution for forest – dwellers in the country therefore, such products have to be sustainable, extracted from our forest and properly valued to confer economic benefit t6 communities especially tribals, which have symbiotic relationship with forests.

A study indicated that about 30% people living below poverty line are mostly residing in and around forest areas. Their poverty can be alleviated by conserving our forests and taking advantage of trees which yield important NWFPs.

Although the products, items and materials obtained and collected from forest / trees are innumerable, the main items of importance are as follows : food. fodder and grass .bamboo canes, medicinal products, spices, essential oils, insecticides, resins, gums, commercial leaves .natural dyes, tannins, starches, oils and fats, fibers & flosses and animal products like lac, silk, honey etc.

Characteristic Features of NWFP :

  • In the past NWFPs were collected for trading in such small quantities that they made an insignificant contribution to the economy. But now these products have acquired major importance.
  • The growing ‘commercialization of NWFPs appears to be a world-wide phenomenon. The quantity collected, traded and price obtained have registered an increase due to increase in demand.
  • The whole family, including men women and children is involved in the collection of nwfp. Post-harvest operation, such as cleaning, removing wings and other waste, sorting and grading .drying and packing are carried out mostly’or entirely by women. The collection of NWFP provide jobs to entire house-hold during the season.
  • The most crucial problem is marketing of nwfp. The tribals collect at the lowest end receive low recompense for the product they collect, while the consumer has to pay the inflated price, the middle man appropriating the large difference. A definite procurement strategy is called for.
  • Processing technique and technologies that are appropriate to nwfp have to be developed for improving economic and social status of people, for generating employment and ensuring better value for the material collected by them. This will result in poverty alleviation.

Marketing of NWFPS :

The marketing of NWFPs is a complex process. It consist of functions and processes in the movement of the products from the place of production to the place of consumption and utilization.

The marketing activities involve not only function of buying and selling, but also the preparation of produces (drying, de-pulping etc) for marketing, assembling, packaging, transportation, grading, storage, processing, retailing, etc. the, number of functions and their types vary from product to product, from time to time and from place to place.

For all these activities both unskilled and skilled labour is required. It is only the largest sector which can provide employment from unskilled to skilled persons.

Packaging :

Packaging is an essential requirement in the marketing process of NWFPs. It is required because of following reason :

  1. It protect the product against spoilage or breakage etc during it movement.
  2. It facilitates the handling of the product during storage and transportation.
  3. It ensures cleanliness of the product.
  4. It prolongs the storage quality of NWFPs by providing protection from the ill effects of weather. Packaging process creates job opportunities.

Transportation :

The movement of NWFP between places is one of the most important marketing function at every stage.

The NWFPs collectors have to be brought from the forest to the local markets and from there to the primary whole sale markets, secondary wholesale markets, retail markets and ultimately to the consumers.

Transport is an indispensable marketing function since it has the advantages like :

  • It widens the market of NWFP
  • narrowing price difference over space
  • creating job opportunities. The available means of transport are mostly insufficient.

Grading :

Grading and standardization is a marketing function of NWFPs which facilitates the movement of produce. Grading standards for commodities are laid down first and then they are sorted out according to the accepted standards.

Grading has certain advantages like it fetches higher price, creates an awareness, widen the market, reduce the cost of marketing etc.

Processing :

Processing of NWPFs is one of the most important steps of marketing, function. Processing activities involve a change in the form of the commodity and is concerned with the addition of value to the products by changing its form.

NWFP have several advantages, it increases the total revenue, reduces the losses or wastages, it is possible to store for a long period, it generates employment opportunities and it widens the market.

Conclusion :

The non-wood forest product is the most important source of employment and income to grass root people living in the vicinity of forest.

Annual employment is estimated over 6-8 million person years and NWFPs have been estimated to account for nearly 30%- 50% of state forest revenues and about 80%of net export earnings from forest produce. The significance of the NWFPs is being increasingly realized through better understanding of their value to the economy as well to the environment.

The emerging trend of market preference for natural products and the increasing emphasis on the efficient and sustainable ,use of natural resources has increased their importance.