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Tripura forest dwellers earned Rs 2.35 Cr by trading minor forest produces

The report underlined the local communities living around the forest earned Rs 7.47 Cr in 2019-20, Rs 2.09 Cr in 2020-21, and Rs 5.23 Cr in 2021-22 from the trading of forest produces at a commercial scale in the provision of access and benefit sharing of the biodiversity resources under Biological Diversity Act 2002.

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Agartala: The forest-dwelling communities of 48 villages has recorded earnings of Rs 2.35 Cr in the first two quarters of the 2022-23 financial year through the local Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) for the trading of non-timber forest produces (NTFP), official reports revealed on Monday.

The report underlined the local communities living around the forest earned Rs 7.47 Cr in 2019-20, Rs 2.09 Cr in 2020-21, and Rs 5.23 Cr in 2021-22 from the trading of forest produces at a commercial scale in the provision of access and benefit sharing of the biodiversity resources under Biological Diversity Act 2002.

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The officials of the State Forest Department said besides raising forests and conservation of natural resources, the state governments have been mandated to mobilize the people residing around the designated forest land to protect the resources and in turn, they are eligible for getting economic benefits as per the Act and Tripura has been doing it successfully over a decade.

Apart from the minor collection of NTFPs for regular livelihood management, Tripura Biodiversity Board has so far facilitated the commercial sale of Broom-grass, Gandaki, and Bamboo sticks for umbrella and bag handles this year although there is plenty of naturally grown high-value forest produces available in the forests those include black pepper, boro-elachi, Bangphai, and at least five different types of bamboos.

“There are several community development projects besides MGNREGS, under different departments for the rural communities including the forest-dwellers to bring them into the sustainable livelihood frameworks aiming to reduce the pressure from the forest and turn away the tribals from traditional slash and burn method (Jhum) of agriculture, which started yielding benefits,” said a senior forest official here.

Before the Covid pandemic, forest-dwelling communities of as many as 157 villages earned benefits in 2019-20 while it was reduced in subsequent years to 90 and 110 villages respectively, the officials stated adding that efforts have been made to bring more villages into the access and benefit sharing framework of the forest resources.

Tripura has long been persuaded to monetize its natural resources and develop a nature-based economy for which the then Chief Minister had demanded a green bonus of Rs 2125 Cr from 14th finance commission along with a grant of Rs 1250 Cr for climate change mitigation, and adaptations.

Thereafter, aiming to increase carbon stock as per its commitment to India to the global community and to boost short-term-forestry-based livelihood, Tripura brought Rs 1000 Cr Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aided second phase project for sustainable catchment forest management and to improve the quality of forest, officials added.

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