TRIFED has entered into a collaborative project with the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FIIT), a unit established by IIT Delhi and Rusicaa Beverages, Purbi Singhbhum, Jharkhand, to commercialize the production of Mahua Nutra beverage – A heritage drink in the state of Jharkhand.
TRIFED, as the nodal agency working for the empowerment of tribals, has been focusing its efforts on finding new ways to improve the lives and the livelihoods of the tribal people.
TRIFED, FITT, and Rusicaa Beverages have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 16 September 2021 to work together to enhance the income of tribals of Jharkhand through the commercial production and sale of Mahua Nutra beverage, a value-added product made out of Mahua flowers in the state. Pravir Krishna, managing director, TRIFED; Anil Wali, managing director, FIIT and Doman Tudu, director, Rusicaa Beverages, signed the MoU in the presence of National Head-Banking & Finance, DICCI and senior officials from the three organizations.
TRIFED, in association with FITT has developed this value-added product Mahua Nutra beverage, made out of Mahua flower so that the tribals can benefit maximum from the value addition of MFPs and development of technologies. FITT acts as the interface to foster, promote and sustain the commercialization of this technology. Now, the technology is being licensed to Rusicaa Beverages of Jharkhand for commercialization of this Mahua Nutra beverage in Jharkhand. As a part of this project, Rusicaa Beverages shall be procuring Mahua flower to produce Mahua Nutra beverage from Tribal forest gatherers of Jharkhand engaged in the collection of Mahua flower and its processing in VDVK Clusters at a price not below MSP price.
This is the first initiative in the State of Jharkhand and the country by TRIFED. This opens up opportunities for partner entrepreneurs in other States looking to start up Nutra beverage units to benefit tribal communities across the country. In its improvised form, the Mahua Nutra beverage is blended with pomegranate fruit juice, which enhances the nutritional value and masks the flavor of the Mahua beverage by improving its aroma and texture.
Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer is a unit established by the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) as an Industry interface body to foster, promote and sustain commercialization of research results in the Institute. IITD has authorized FITT to explore commercialization and societal outreach.
As a part of its various initiatives, especially the TRIFOOD project and the Van Dhan start-ups scheme, TRIFED has been focusing on enhancing the income of tribals through better utilization and value addition to the MFPs collected by the tribal forest gatherers. TRIFED also outsources R&D projects to scientific organizations or universities to develop value-added products and process technologies. The tribals benefit maximum from the value addition of MFPs and the development of technologies. And it is under this objective that this collaborative project with FIIT and Rusicaa Beverages has been initiated.
Among its flagship programs and implementations, The ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) & Development of Value Chain for MFP’ Scheme, in particular, has already emerged as a beacon of change and has positively impacted the tribal ecosystem as never before. Implemented by TRIFED in association with State Government Agencies across 21 states, the scheme has injected crores of rupees directly into the tribal economy since April 2020. Aided by the Government push in May 2020, the prices of Minor Forest Produce (MFPs) were increased by up to 90%. The inclusion of 23 new items in the MFP list, this flagship scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which draws its strength from The Forest Rights Act of 2005, aims to provide remunerative and fair prices to tribal gatherers forest produces.
The Van Dhan Vikas Yojana, also a component of the same scheme, further complements MSP and has emerged as a source of employment for tribal gatherers, forest dwellers, and home-bound tribal artisans. The crux of the program is that it ensures that the proceeds from the sales of these value-added products go to the tribals directly.
To take this to the next logical phase, TRIFED explores convergences with organizations, government, non-government and academics, to continue its mission towards tribal empowerment. The aim is to pool strengths together and undertake work that will help in boosting the income and livelihoods of the tribal people.
With the successful implementation of this collaboration, this unique, nutritional product will reach households across the country, become a common name, and thus contribute to the transformation of tribal lives and livelihoods.