Arawali Forest Is Pandora’s Box – Turnover Of Forest Farm Produce Crossed Rs 189 Crore In Udaipur Mandi
"The Idea of GRAM event was to reach to farmers especially in terms of training. A trained farmer can well become a source of inspiration for others in the community and this will be the way to progress," Principal Secretary of Agriculture Rajasthan, Neelkamal Darbari
Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet, Udaipur had witnessed 18 memorandums of understandings worth nearly Rs 488 Crore, but the best part is that it will create a job opportunity for 4,000 people as told to BW Businessworld by the sources of the agriculture ministry. GRAM, Udaipur has given a new idea to policy makers, to reach the farmers. This time the event emphasised on the real stakeholders that are farmers. Speaking with BW Businessworld, the Principal Secretary of Agriculture Rajasthan, Neelkamal Darbari said, "the Idea of this event was to reach to farmers especially in terms of training". She added, "a trained farmer can well become a source of inspiration for others in the community and this will be the way to progress".
It is also true that the idea of reaching to farmers has immense underlying potential. BW Businessworld had delved into one such idea which may worth billions of rupees that was otherwise neglected by the people in power.
Arawali mountain series has its significance on the world map as well. It is the world’s oldest mountain series. Udaipur, which is a city known for being a tourist attraction, falls in the middle of this oldest mountain series. It is an irony that this entire forest area which has huge potential in terms of trade for the purely herbal produce of highest quality had never got attention from the policy-making circle.
In an interaction with BW Businessworld, Bhagwan Jatwa, the secretary of Mandi (marketing yard) of Udaipur had shared few details of a dream project by the Rajasthan government. The project is designed with a potential to turn the life of some half a million tribal farmers from the Arawali region. Udaipur has merely eight per cent of arable land in comparison to 92 per cent hill region with a dense forest cover. The tribal farmers have got very small land holding sizes. This small land holding can’t turn them into results in terms of farm output. To worsen the situation, Indian Forest Act (IFA) 1927 plays a huge role in depriving farmers of all the profits they had from Mother Nature.
Products like white musli, natural edible gum, high protein cassia quora (a tribal medicinal seed) or a wild gooseberry had got pace in sales as soon as they got a platform by the state government’s Mandi marketing board. Tribal farmers who were getting nothing for livelihood had a ray of hope. The Secretary of Udaipur Mandi along with the Agriculture Minister of Rajasthan shared details from the trade of these forest produces which had generated revenue of Rs 189 crore in the current marketing year. The government has also operationalized a scheme for the tribal farmers where insurance cover has been given to them for their travel to Mandi from the forest. A trader from local mandi, Basanti Lal had informed, ‘All credit to the government for such an idea, it has paid off well. The tribal farmers started getting a better livelihood and we the traders had started getting better revenue from trade. Many of the forest items are now exported to countries like Germany and Japan that had their strong quality standards. Export to these nations symbolizes the quality of these products’. Our forest kept Pandora’s box unexplored.