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Research Report


Sharachchandra Lele
R. Venkat Ramanujam
Jeetesh Rai
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Pages: 76

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. None)
  3. (pp. ii-ii)
  4. (pp. iii-iv)
  5. (pp. v-viii)
  6. (pp. 01-03)

    Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have been the focus of research and policy attention over the last several decades from the perspectives of poverty alleviation, cultural rights as well as forest conservation. The collection and sale of NTFPs forms a significant part of the livelihood of forest-dependent peoples in many parts of the world (Kusters and Belcher 2004; Laird et al. 2010), not just in terms of its total contribution to income but also because this activity is often carried out during the lean season. It provides a safety net (Shackleton and Shackleton 2004), and can provide crucial cash income in...

  7. (pp. 04-07)

    The emergence of the Jabalpur beedi industry at the turn of the century triggered the search for suitable beedi wrappers, culminating in the choice of the tendu leaf and its emergence as a highly valuable commercial product (Lal 2009). MP is thus the original site of the tendu leaf trade.

    During the pre-independence period and up to the mid-1960s, the Forest Department would auction tendu leaf collection rights at a division level and the contractors would then arrange for collecting the tendu leaf using local villagers as wage labourers. A significant amount of tendu leaf also grew on private lands...

  8. (pp. 08-11)

    How should we assess and understand the achievements of the MFPFED system in MP? The framework for any such study would consist of two parts. The assessment of outcomes would require a normative framework that specifies what a co-operative procurement and marketing system with a monopoly on a forest product should be expected to deliver, and how one would measure progress towards these normative goals. Further, the explanation of success or failure in achieving these goals would require a theoretical framework that would identify a potential set of factors likely to influence the co-operative system’s ability to deliver on these...

  9. (pp. 12-12)

    Fieldwork for the study was conducted from 2010—12 in six districts of MP: Betul, Dindori, Umaria, Sagar, Vidisha and Sehore. These districts were chosen as representing regions with high tendu leaf availability but varying adivasi fraction in the population and varying access to beedi manufacturing units, using the 2001 Population Census data for Madhya Pradesh, interviews with MP FD officials, and initial pilot visits. We focused particularly on Betul, Dindori, and Umaria, where adivasis comprise 40–65% of the population, and Sagar, which is a major site of the beedi-making industry. Twenty-five PCSs were covered across eight District Unions:...

  10. (pp. 13-26)

    We present here our findings regarding the four dimensions along which we would like to assess the performance of the MFPFED system.

    The time-series of average sale price received and wages and bonuses paid is presented in Table 1. As mentioned earlier, the MFPFED system performed well in its first year of operations (1989), when prices obtained and wages paid were much higher than the previous (preco-operativization) year, as described in section 2. It continued to fare well for several years, as sale prices rose slowly, but then declined in 2001 and remained relatively stagnant after that till 2005, and...

  11. (pp. 27-29)

    When we began the study, we believed that the MFP co-operatives, even if established in a top-down manner, were reasonably autonomous collective action organizations, federated into the MFPFED. We therefore believed that the quality or effectiveness of their functioning could be explained at least partly through an institutional analysis framework that identifies factors affecting the success of collective action, including the size of the co-operative, incentive structure design and other design elements, the quality of leadership, and the level of economic dependence of members on the product (Attwood and Baviskar 1988; Shah 1995; Oakerson 1992). However, our assessment shows that...

  12. (pp. 30-32)

    In a study of MFP co-operatives in Karnataka, Lele and Rao (1996) asked “Whose co-operatives and whose produce?”, and pointed out that the adivasi members of these co-operatives neither own the produce nor control their co-operative. The same situation prevails in the MFPFED system: the Forest Department continues to control the tendu leaf and NTFP resource in general, the state controls the PCSs, and the tendu leaf contractors control the market. The system is better characterized as a state-run tendu leaf monopoly procurement system that metamorphosed from one focused on royalty maximization for the state to one, ostensibly, focused on...

  13. (pp. 33-34)

    The tendu leaf collection system in MP has been praised not only for assuring tendu leaf pluckers an adequate livelihood but also as “the best [sic] democratic and decentralized system that comes closest to the soul and spirit of the PESA” (MoPr 2007). Our study shows that the system works smoothly and may be seen as providing high returns from certain perspectives, but is certainly nowhere near meeting goals of democratization or decentralization. Even as a state-run procurement system, there are several shortcomings, including the diversion of a portion of the tendu pluckers’ returns to village development and forest development,...

  14. (pp. 35-36)
  15. (pp. 37-39)
  16. (pp. 61-62)