Indigenous knowledge with market opportunities together can generate sustainable livelihoods for forest communities in Assam in 20 districts. This is evident during the ‘Aadi Mahotsav’ on Saturday in Guwahati.
‘Banashristi’, a project under COMPELO (Consortium for Micro Planning and Enhancing Livelihood Opportunities) aims to achieve this target by providing skill development training to the people of forest communities.
“We provide training and skill development programmes to people of the forest communities. It is facilitated through Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) Guwahati and Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi (RGVN),” Lipika Sarkar of COMPELO told Northeast Now.
“There are some unique products made from water hyacinth like dining mats, coasters, bags and file covers. Moreover, ‘Banashristi’ produces honey, organic green tea and the like,” Sarkar added.
Since its inception in 2012, over 4000 people have been trained in different trades like weaving, areca leaf plate making, mushroom cultivation, cane and bamboo products and more.
Through this project, the products of ‘Banashristi’ are marketed in Ban Bazar outlets in the vicinity of forest areas of Assam. Recently, ‘Banashristi’ also signed MoU with TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd) to open market opportunities across India through its retail outlets.
Further, the French Development Agency assists the Assam Project on Forests and Biodiversity Conservation Society (APFBCS) in the implementation of this project.
The project, supported by the Assam Forest Department, is also involved in nursery management which maintains rare plants and fruit-yielding trees as a means to increase the green cover of the state.