Initial steps to streamline Bamboo value chain in CFR focus area of Malkangiri district

ISB-BIPP is building a sustainable long-term economic model for forest-dependent communities based on the income generated from Seasonal Forest Products (SFP) sales. We believe a multi-stakeholder partnership between the Government, the industries, and the forest communities is the key to a sustainable business model. We are building market linkages between the communities and industries to enable the sale of SFPs. Industries need consistent supply of quality raw materials, and CFR-titled communities have the SFPs, which are the raw materials. We initiated a series of workshops to streamline an efficient multi-stakeholder partnership instead of communicating individually with each stakeholder.  

Bamboo is declared as a seasonal forest produce under section2(i) of the Forest Rights Act and hence is an essential commodity to build a value chain in the forest economy vision. It is found in abundance in the selected areas of Malkangiri district. It is critical to ensure support from the state and district government as it plays a crucial role in the smooth administration and progress in the CFR claim filling process as well as end to end inter-state transportation of bamboo to the industries. 

ISB-BIPP, in collaboration with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), dedicated the first workshop to develop a plan of action for drafting bamboo management plans and understand existing capacity gaps. The Tehsildar, two range officers, The Forest Department (FD), the Sub-Collector Forest Rights Committee (FRC), the Sub-Collector Sub-Divisional Level Committee (SDLC), BILT Graphic Paper Products Ltd., and the leaders of twenty-four villages from Malkangiri participated in this workshop to provide support and inputs.  

Everyone agreed on the need to draft rules and policies for responsible bamboo harvesting in the management plans to ensure forest conservation and continuous sale of SFPs. Harvesting bamboo requires training as certain measures to protect green shoots and ensuring sustainable supply are essential to the supply chain. The discussions primarily entailed 

details of the volume of bamboo clumps ready for harvesting, the segregation of areas based on the bamboo growth, the areas to be preserved for the future, the timelines for harvesting, the status of the bamboo clumps, and the reasoning for a logical conclusion on harvesting decisions.  

The transportation means, stock storage, collective sale, and flow of revenue details shall be elaborated upon in the second stage of the workshop. We invited leaders of Kalahandi Maha Gram Sabha, a federation of one hundred Gram Sabhas, for their input on the best practices from their management planning and business experience. The discussions with these federation committees revolved around the large scale of supply, aggregation and collective sale, pricing of the products, payment timelines, payment mode, and planning with BGPPL. After the workshop, we worked with the DFO to lay out the management plans for each Gram Sabha. 

Malkangiri and ISB team are gearing up for the direct sale of bamboo in the upcoming harvest season to BGPPL and started drafting the bamboo management. As a first step in the process of drafting the bamboo management plans, we are working with the Forest Department and the Gram Sabha members to count and categorize the bamboo clumps. We codeveloped a plan for conducting the bamboo sale. It is encouraging for us at BIPP-ISB to note that women are leading the process of inventory estimation of bamboo.  

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