Mumbai, Apr 8: A story that once again showcases the Van Dhan tribal start-ups programme, a component of the The ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme, has emerged as a major source of employment for local tribals. The outcome is undoubtedly the success of VDVK Adivasi Ekatmik Samajik Sanstha, Shahapur.
VDVK Adivasi Eakatmik Samajik Sanstha, Shahapur is a perfect example of tribal entrepreneurship and demonstrates how cluster development and value addition can help members earn significantly higher income. Majority of the tribals who form the members of VDVK (Van Dhan Vikas Kendra, Shahapur) belong to the Katkari community. Katkari is a primitive tribe found in Maharashtra, mainly in Pune, Raigad and Thane districts of the state and parts of Gujarat.
VDVK was started by Sunil Pawaran, an enterprising member of the Katkari community and his friends, in order to sell raw Giloy in local markets under the Van Dhan Yojana scheme. The VDVK today comprises of a 300 member team and has a much larger scale of operations, where the team deals with more than 35 products and processed food items.
While the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown that followed did disrupt the VDVK’s operations, it did not deter the morale of the team. Through the lockdown, the VDVK continued to work hard to minimize the impact. Between Mar 2020 and mid-Jun 2020, VDVK Shahapur purchased over 34,000 kg of raw Giloy from the local tribals. Subsequently with the unlocking and slow return to normalcy, the VDVK is working aggressively to expand and make its products available for purchase on e-commerce platforms.
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The success of VDVK Shahapur has inspired thousands of people from the community and nearby areas to come together and work on similar lines and 39 VDVKs comprising of 12000 beneficiaries have been additionally sanctioned by TRIFED so far. The success of this VDVK is an example of how such initiatives implemented by TRIFED for making India self-reliant under the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, with the motto, Go Vocal for Local Go Tribal – Mera Van Mera Dhan Mera Udyam are effecting a complete transformation of the tribal ecosystem across the country.