ITDA, Malkangiri Sanctioned 50k to 2 Gram Sabhas: first Step in Setting up Forest Community Enterprise Model in Odisha

Transparency and traceability in the value chain are essential for financial inclusion. One of the major objectives of the IoFE project is to build a sustainable, traceable, and transparent aggregation of forest products by women-led community enterprises.  We seek to build and formalise linkages between stakeholders in the existing forest-based industrial raw material value chain. We also aim to facilitate institutional and technological capacity building of women-led tribal communities with incentives for sustainable forest management.   

The IoFE team visited Malkangiri to start the process of establishing a forest enterprise. During the four-day field visit, the team met with members of two-gram sabhas and discussed their plans to form self-help groups (SHGs) to manage bamboo plantations. The Gram sabhas have finalized locations for depots and plan to sell bamboo via the Gram sabhas.  

The team also met with the district magistrate, who offered help with CFRR title allotments, and a local transporter who owns a fleet of trucks and has offered to provide discounted transportation rates. IoFE team then attended a meeting of the Sudhakonda Gram Sabha, where we were impressed by the upkeep of bamboo stocks and discussed the possibility of selling the bamboo poles immediately. We also met with a representative of the Odisha Livelihood Mission, who offered help with SHG formation and documentation.  

Finally, on 14 March 2023, the IoFE team went to the ITDA office and met DC Mr. Vijay Singh regarding information on the availability of ITDA grants for working capital. Enterprise lead Mrs. Sukanya Chakravorty enquired about grants especially curated for capacity building and other livelihood activities, and DC informed the team about the availability of funds for the forest tribes. After the submission of the required documents, DC ITDA has sanctioned Rs 50K to 2 Gramsabha of Telrai GP – Sudhakonda (25k) and Dayaltang (25k). This amount will get credited to the respective gram panchayat account directly for capacity building and livelihood activities.  

The goal of our enterprise model is to (a) increase the collective strength of primary collectors to achieve a viable scale to take on the existing market forces promoted by end of the project (EoP), (b) maintain the flow of steady income for local communities as part of forest economy for livelihood generation improved by EoP, (c) ensure and enhance the women participation in agroforestry as changemakers established by EoP, (d) secured sustainable sourcing of SFPs as industrial raw material by EoP.  

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