Raipur: Chhattisgarh tops in the chart of forest produce collection and procurement in the nation.
The state has established a new record by purchasing 73 percent of the country's forest produce, a government statement said on Sunday.
It is also the only state where 52 types of minor forest produce are being bought at a support price, benefitting forest dwellers and forest produce collectors, an official statement said on Sunday.
Minor forest produce, which was earlier sold cheap, has now become a valuable product.
The Chhattisgarh government has started a Vananchal project to provide direct and indirect employment opportunities by establishing small forest produce based industries in forest areas.
The government has given several types of discounts and attractive packages to promote small forest produce based industries.
So far, 15 entrepreneurs have given application to the government with a proposal to invest Rs 75 crores to set up various types of forest produce based industries in Vananchal areas.
The tendu leaf collection rate has been increased from Rs 2,500 per standard bag to Rs 4,000. As a result, about 12 lakh tendu leaf collector families got an additional Rs 225 crores of wages per year as well as extra incentive remuneration bonus of Rs 232 crores.
Due to the increase in the minimum support price of forest produce and arranging for their purchase, the villagers now get additional benefits of about Rs 300 crores.
At present, only five percent of the forest produce stored in the state is processed in Chhattisgarh. It is to change this situation that the government has started the Vananchal project.