MAY 2020  
Community-based Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation in Arunachal Pradesh

The forests of Arunachal Pradesh harbour a rich bounty of flora, many of which are also commercially highly valued species of non-timber forest produce (NTFP), mainly medicinal, aromatic, and spices plants. The Monpa tribe resides in the western part of the state and the community is highly dependent on the forests and the natural resources for their livelihood. The local community enjoys de facto custodianship of the forests. They also share strong religious ties and place immense cultural value on their natural surroundings.

In exercising their rights of collection of NTFP, whatever is collected is sold in local markets, or to traders, and this is mostly done in an unorganized manner. In the absence of a proper mechanism, however, the potential value of these NTFPs has remained untapped, and their price uncertain. Moreover, there is little or no control over the amounts being harvested. The economic benefit of local villagers through the sustainable collection of NTFPs can provide a strong incentive to ensure long-term durability of the Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) that the villagers have demarcated and notified for the conservation of natural resources over which they have traditional rights.

As part of the strategy to ensure economic benefit to villagers managing the Mandala Phudung Khellong Community Conserved Area (MPKCCA), WWF-India, Sony India and the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development are working together to explore the potential of NTFPs collected from the CCAs. Of the six NTFPs identified as having market potential, Khagei or Zabrang (Zanthoxylum sp.) has been prioritized to develop a sustainable collection protocol and establish the market linkages at pilot scale.

Zanthoxylum, locally known as Khagei or Zabrang, is an essential condiment in the Monpa-dominated area of western Arunachal Pradesh. It is part of the local diet and consumed as chutney and pickle. ‘We were selling Zabrang in local markets or to traders. Prices varied between ₹ 200 and ₹ 500 per kg. With this new initiative, we will receive a fair rate on the collected products,’ said Pem Choijang from MPKCCA.

In 2017, after an assessment of the availability of Zabrang in the wild and the amount that could be collected sustainably, WWF-India commenced its efforts to establish market linkages. Based on the evaluation which was discussed and endorsed by the MPKCCA, locals collected 6734 kg of Zabrang. Through several stakeholder consultations, a linkage has been created with a leading fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company. To ensure that a fair rate is provided for the collected NTFPs, the MPKCCA management committee and the company agreed to formalize a partnership under the guidance of the Bomdila Forest Division, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, and WWF-India. A mechanism to ensure proper sharing of benefits among the villagers with the inclusion of corpus from the total earnings was prepared in consultation with villagers and members of the CCA management committee.

For the legal trade of NTFPs, a transit permit was issued by the Arunachal Forest Department, in addition to an advalorem of ₹ 31 per kg, which is paid by the MPKCCA management committee. This amount has been included in the price negotiated with the FMCG company for the collection and transportation of Zabrang to its unit in Tezpur, Assam. In order to streamline the collection and transportation, the WWF-India team also held a number of consultation meetings with the Divisional Forest Office to have a single transit permit issued to the management committee instead of individual permissions.      

Kamal Medhi, Coordinator of WWF-India’s Western Arunachal Landscape, said, Roles and responsibilities, such as Zabrang collection from each household, storage, and transportation of products to the unit, have been defined among the stakeholders. A system for price negotiation has also been created to ensure fair transactions between the community and the company.'

The collection of Zabrang was organized between October and November 2019 in the settlements of Phudung, Dungmanba, Menchang, Khellong, and PampuKheri. A total of 119 households of all settlements under the MPKCCA collected 6734 kg of Zabrang. The MPKCCA management committee then sold 6395 kg to the company at a rate of '₹ 475 per kg. The remaining Zabrang was retained for local consumption. After the delivery of the first consignment of 4000 kg, the total earning of 119 households was ₹ 18 lakh in addition to the advalorem payment to the Forest Department along with the management fee of MPKCCA. The second consignment of 2200 kg was ready for delivery by end of March 2020. It promised to provide an additional income of ₹ 9.9 lakh to 119 households and ₹ 4000 as corpus to the management committee. With a total earning of '₹ 27.9 lakh, the families received an additional amount of ₹ 24,500 per household.

In a historic first, for the state of Arunachal Pradesh, communities have marketed and sold NTFPs collected from their forests through a legal mechanism. With the development of market linkages between community institutions and a prominent company, this partnership is being highlighted at various platforms, including the State Wildlife Board Meeting, which was chaired by the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh in January 2020. 

Article courtesy: WWF-India.

© TERI 2020

Nominations open for CSP Today India awards 2013

The inaugural CSP Today India awards ceremony takes place on March 12, and CSP developers, EPCs, suppliers and technology providers can now be nominated.

CSP has made tremendous progress since the announcement of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010. With Phase I projects now drawing closer to completion, the first milestone in Indias CSP learning curve is drawing closer. CSP Today has chosen the next CSP Today India conference (12-13 March, New Delhi) as the time for the industry to reflect upon its progress and celebrate its first achievements.

At the awards ceremony, industry leaders will be recognized for their achievements in one of 4 categories: CSP India Developer Award, CSP India Engineering Performance Award, CSP India Technology and Supplier Award, and the prestigious CSP India Personality of the Year.

Matt Carr, Global Events Director at CSP Today, said at the opening of nominations that CSP Today are excited to launch these esteemed awards, which will enhance the reputation of their recipients. I am particularly excited to launch the CSP India Personality of the Year award, a distinguished honor for the industry figure deemed worthy by their peers.

All eyes will be on the CSP Today India 2013 Awards when nomination entry closes on February 4 and the finalists are announced on February 11. The awards are open to all industry stakeholders to nominate until February 4 at or by e-mail to [email protected]

Matt Carr
+44 (0) 20 7375 7248
[email protected]