HYDERABAD: Working around the issue of minor forest produce becoming less available in the market, the Telangana State Girijan Cooperative Corporation Limited, a branch of Telangana's Tribal Welfare Department, has shifted its focus to value addition and creation of micro, medium and small enterprises (MSME) owned and operated by tribals in the agency areas of Telangana.
Before the pandemic, the corporation had established 14 processing units under the MSME scheme. Two glycerine soap and shampoo-making units, a detergent soap-making unit, three pulses processing units, three millet processing units, two groundnut jaggery bar-making units and three sanitary napkin-making units have been in operation in various GCC divisions.
Each of these units is being operated by 10 tribal women being empowered to become entrepreneurs. ICRISAT has been providing technical expertise for these efforts. Nine fuel bunks are also being run by the corporation in four districts, which are operated by tribal youth. The corporation is also in the process of obtaining a no-objection for establishing 18 more fuel stations in these districts.
It has also launched ‘Giri Brand’ products by getting soaps and shampoos manufactured on an outsourcing basis. The brand currently supplies opaque, detergent soaps and shampoos to tribal welfare residential educational institutions and is also marketing them through its chain of retail network. As many as 17 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVK), an initiative of the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation (TRIFED) under the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, are going to be established in the agency areas.
Tribals are being trained at the Forest College and Research Institute (FCRI) on sustainable and scientific harvesting methods, value addition of forest produce through primary and post-primary processing of produce, branding, packing, marketing and other aspects.