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Collection, Processing & Marketing of Minor Forest Produce
 
Prior to Corporation's existence MFP trade was in private hands. They were unconcerned about the plight of MFP collectors in their pursuit for more profits. The Corporation took up trade of MFP (collection/procurement and marketing) as its main objective. This had substantial bearing on tribal economy. The state provided due legitimacy and support to it by promulgating the Gujarat MFP Trade Nationalization Act, 1979. The Article 19 (6) (II), Fundamental Rights and Article 46 Directive Principles of State Policy, Constitution of India provide for this . Through this Act, the trade of four MFPs viz., the Timru leaf, Mhowra flower, Doli and Gums was nationalized in Gujarat.



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Corporation is the Sole State Agency Appointed to trade in nationalized MFPs.



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Corporation has so far paid Rs. 419.41 lacs as Royalty from MFP and Charcoal trade, Rs. 620.00 lacs as net Revenue from Valsad Project, and Rs. 12.03 lacs as dividend to the State Govt., Rs. 18.00 lacs to Chief Minister's Relief Fund, Rs. 465.00 lacs as net sale proceeds from sale of MFP to Zilla Panchayats, Rs. 7.55 lacs as Royalty on charcoal to Gram Panchayats and, Rs. 693.35 lacs as Income Tax and Rs. 7.85 Lacs as Fringe Benefits Tax to the Central Government.

In the wake of 73rd constitutional amendment and the amendment to the Gujarat Panchayats Act in 1998, corporation now trades in MFP from Scheduled areas on behalf of Gram Panchayats/Sabhas on a no-profit no-loss principle.



Over seventy five MFPs (including the non-nationalized ones) are now being collected. This translates into higher income to tribal close to his homestead during lean period. Currently Corporation is paying over Rs. 1000 lacs annually to primary collectors for procurement. This translates into two million employment days in rural and forest areas.

The business of Minor Forest Produce i.e. Timru leaves, Mahuda Flowers, Mahuda Doli and all types of Gums has been nationalized by the State Goverment by passing the Gujarat Minor Forest Produce Trade Nationalization Act, 1979. Under this Act, Gujarat State Forest Development Corporation Ltd. has been appointed as the sole agent of Government to purchase, sell and transport these M.F.P.s in the State. Further, taking resource to Articles 19(I)(9) of the Constitution of India, the Hon'ble High Court of Gujarat has in it's recent verdict upheld the monopolistic position of Corporation for the benefits of tribals. This part, Article 46 of the Constitution enjoins the state to promote the economic interest of the weaker sections of the people particularly the scheduled castes and scheduled tribe to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.



Initially, only Timru leaves, Mahuda Flowers, Mahuda Seeds, Gums were collected. Now, in addition, 96 commodities (Non-nationalized M.F.P.s) are also collected. Collection rates have been increased progressively by taking into consideration prevailing market rates, demand and supply of M.F.Ps collection rates of 13 Nationalized M.F.Ps are fixed by the Government on recommendation by the Advisory Committee constituted under Gujarat Minor Forest Produce Trade Nationalization Act, 1979 and published in Government Gazette during December for each calandar year through Notifications and collection rates of Non-nationalized M.F.Ps are fixed by the Managing Director on recommendation of the Technical Commitee of the Corporation.



M.F.P. Collection Through Agents

M.F.P. Collection is done through Corporation's agents who are appointed during November to January by the Corporation. Tribal's Co-operative Societies, FDAs, JFM, NGOs and other induvidual agents are appointed as agents by GSFCDC Ltd. Individual agents are paid 10% commision in addition to the transportaion charges from the collection centre to the godown. One percent extra (i.e. 11%) commission is being paid to Tribal's Co-operative Societies, JFM, FDA's, Van Mandali. M.F.Ps are also collected through Direct Purchase Centres (DPCs) at GSFDCL Ltd. godowns and weekly Bazars through Corporation's staff by paying collection rates and commission charges to the primary collectors.



M.F.P.s collection in Scheduled Area

After amendment in Gujarat Panchayat Act (No.5 of) 1998, the ownership of M.F.Ps has been transferred to the Gram Panchayat / Gram Sabha. Jilla Panchayat carried out M.F.P activities from 2000 to 2002 season. However, they could not achieve much success. Consequently, the State Government reverted this activity to the Corporation on Panchayat's behalf on "No Profit - No Loss" basis since 2003 season.



M.F.P Sale of Gujarat State Forest Development Corporation Limited

After collection, M.F.Ps are stored in Corporation's godowns and sold through traders and if necessary by open auction and negotiations. After two to three attempts of Tender's Sale, M.F.Ps are sold by taking offers from the traders/merchants. Timru Units are sold with notified bags through tender and open auction and after 3-4 attempts of tender sale, un-sold Timru Units are worked departmentally. Timru Leaves, thus collected are sold by tender and open auction.

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