Market Development of Tribal Products

The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) was established in August 1987 by the then Ministry of Welfare, Government of India, under the Multi State Cooperative Societies Act 1984 (which has now been replaced by the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002) . TRIFED was established with the basic mandate of bringing about the socio-economic development of tribals of the country by institutionalizing the trade of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and Surplus Agriculture Produce (SAP) collected/cultivated by them – because tribals are heavily dependent on these natural products for their livelihood.    But in many cases they did not use to get remunerative prices due to middle-men and unscrupulous traders exploiting the naiveté of  Tribals.

TRIFED was expected to help tribals by ensuring purchase of their products and that too by paying them remunerative prices.  Further TRIFED was required to provide marketing support to State Tribal Development Cooperative Corporations, State Forest Development Corporations and other State level Agencies engaged in procurement of such products from tribals. Since inception, TRIFED focused its activities mainly on procurement of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and Agriculture Produce (AP) with the idea of providing remunerative prices to the tribals and also to help member societies in disposing their stocks procured from tribals.

TRIFED was expected to perform the MFP operations as a welfare activity and not as a commercial activity. Thus TRIFED was expected to trade in MFP irrespective of the commercial prudence of purchasing goods at cheaper rates and resorting to purchase and sale only to maximize profit. As a consequence TRIFED suffered cumulative loss of Rs. 92.62 crore till 31.3.2003, resulting in the erosion of   the equity share capital provided by the Central Government.

Earlier scheme ‘Price Support to TRIFED’:

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs used to compensate the losses sustained by TRIFED in its MFP operations by extending it grants-in-aid under the Central Sector Scheme of ‘Price Support to TRIFED’.   From 1990-91 to 2006-07, the Central Government had extended a total amount of Rs.51.40 crore under the ‘Price Support Scheme.’

Change in the objective of TRIFED:

After a thorough review and careful consideration of the past performance, in the year 2003 TRIFED reoriented its activities.  Under its new strategy, TRIFED ceased from bulk procurement of MFP and AP.  Instead it started concentrating on marketing development activities for tribal products. TRIFED has thus become a “Service Provider” to its member federations and a “Marketing Developer” for the tribal produce and products.TRIFED is the only body of the Govt. of India at the National level engaged in marketing development of tribal products including tribal art and craft items directly. TRIFED is striving to provide economic benefits to a large number of this unorganized section of the society.

TRIFED has been marketing tribal products through its own shops called ‘TRIBES India ’ and through the outlets of State Emporia on consignment basis. This is a new scheme introduced during the year 2007-08 to replace the existing scheme ‘Price Support to TRIFED’. To continue with the marketing and other allied activities, TRIFED had, for the first time, drawn up a comprehensive Road Map concerning its proposed activities during the 11th Plan Period (2007-12). After detailed discussions and following the prescribed procedure of consultation with the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance, this Ministry has approved the Road Map of TRIFED under the new Scheme “Market Development of Tribal Products/Produce.” As per this new scheme/Road Map TRIFED would now concentrate only on the following four activities during the five years 2007-12:

                     i.      Retail Marketing Development Activity

      ii.     MFP Marketing Development Activity

      iii.     Vocational Training, Skill Up-gradation and Capacity Building of ST Artisans and MFP Gatherers

       iv.    Research Development/Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Activity.

               As per the approved Road Map, the Central Government would extend a total amount of Rs. 69.59 crore as grants under the scheme to TRIFED during the 11th Plan period.   The details of the requirements, activity-wise, are as under:

Activity-wise financial requirements of TRIFED during 11th Plan
                                                                                                                         (Rs. lakhs)

  Activity 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Total for 5 years
Fund Requirement from Ministry
A Retail Marketing Development Activity 550 623 392 -10 -243 1312
B MFP Marketing Development Activity 761 710 500 380 414 2765
C Vocational Training, Skill Up-gradation and Capacity Building of ST Artisans and MFP Gatherers 371 403 438 488 530 2230
D Research & Development/

IPR Activity

187 146 119 99 101 652
  Funds required for A+B+C+D 1869 1882 1449 957 802 6959



As part of the condition for assistance under this Scheme, TRIFED signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ministry of Tribal Affairs on 26.11.2007 for the year 2007-08.   The MOU identifies the deliverables, quantifies the outcomes, prescribes the time-lines and provides for monitoring system for the purpose and linking of financial releases to the achievements of both physical and financial targets.

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