Non-Timber Forest Produces of Madhya Pradesh

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Introduction: What are NTFPs?

Non-Timber Forest Produces (NTFPs) are, as the name suggests, some of the useful non-timber parts of forest trees. The usage of non-timber parts depends on the local practices of medicine, food, etc. Usually the leaves, fruits, seeds and flowers of certain trees are collected and sold by the locals. The earning from such activities contributed to the livelihood from NTFPs.

This short article is about the NTFPs of a small village in Madhya Pradesh state of India and how they contribute to the livelihood of the local tribal population.

Mahua

A tropical tree  and the source of country liquor

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Photo by author

Mahua is the local name in India, the scientific name of which is Madhuca longifolia. It is largely found in the northern and central Indian dense forests. The tree grows large and looks beautiful. Mahua has high value in the life of tribal population of these areas.

Mahua provides a great livelihood opportunity to the villagers. During the peak season (March and April), the villagers collect the fallen flowers of these trees and dry them. Either they sell immediately or they store, as per their need for money. If they store and sell it a couple of months later, they tend to get a better price.

The Mahua flowers are used to make country liquor. The irony is that on one hand Mahua is a source of livelihood to the poor tribal population, but on the other it ruins their lives as most of them waste their time getting drunk.

Char

An NTFP source in the M.P jungles

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Photo by author

Char is another tree that is a source of NTFP. I could not find the scientific or English name for this tree. Anyway, it’s importance in the forests as a source of NTFP cannot be negated. Below is the little knowledge I gained from the locals about the uses of this tree.

    • The fruits of this tree can be used to make pickles.
    • Seeds can be used for medicinal purposes.
    • Its seeds fetch a very good price in the market.

Tendu Leaves

The leaves used to make BEEDIs

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Photo by author

Tendu leaves are the lifeline of almost all the households in the countryside and jungles of Madhya Pradesh. During the peak season, the children and ladies of the household can be found collecting these leaves. Once collected, they are dried and used to make beedis , the local cigarette. The tobacco flakes are wrapped in these Tendu leaves and tied with a thread.

The tribal women go about collecting these leaves in the forest. After spending early hours in the morning in the collection, they return and either make bundles of the leaves as required by the buyer, and sell them, or make beedis – the final product

Seasonality and Price

NTFP collection is a seasonal option for livelihood, but it helps as it is in the summer that these produces are available. In summer most of the farmers do not grow anything owing to the lack of water. The details of some of the NTFPs that the villagers collect are as below:

Tendu leaves are the lifeline of almost all the households in the countryside and jungles of Madhya Pradesh. During the peak season, the children and ladies of the household can be found collecting these leaves. Once collected, they are dried and used to make beedis , the local cigarette. The tobacco flakes are wrapped in these Tendu leaves and tied with a thread.

The tribal women go about collecting these leaves in the forest. After spending early hours in the morning in the collection, they return and either make bundles of the leaves as required by the buyer, and sell them, or make beedis – the final product.

NTFP (local names)Season of AvailabilityAverage Price Paid in Indian Rupees
MahuaMarch 2nd Week - April 3rd Week2200/quintal
CharApril 4th Week - May 1st Week7000/quintal
Tendu LeavesMay95/1000 leaves

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