The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd (TRIFED) is making significant strides in supporting and promoting traditional craftsmanship and products of tribal communities in the North Eastern Region. Under the “Marketing and Logistics Development for Promoting Tribal Products from the North East Region (PTP NER)” scheme, TRIFED has recently organized Tribal Artisans Employment Melas to bolster the tribal economy.
In a bid to promote tribal artisans and their creations, TRIFED organized a “Marketing and Logistics Development for Promoting Tribal Products from the North Eastern Region” event at the DC Conference Hall in Noklak Headquarters on 25 September 2023. This event followed the successful Tribal Artisans Employment Mela in Zunheboto on 23 September 2023, held at the Town Hall in Zunheboto.
During the Zunheboto Artisan Mela, TRIFED selected sample products from local artisans, with plans for potential bulk orders. These products will soon be available through TRIFED’s retail outlets and online platforms such as tribesindia.com, Amazon, and Flipkart. In addition, selected artisans will receive invitations and sponsorship from TRIFED to participate in All India exhibitions and fairs. In Zunheboto, 32 artisans were chosen for further support.
Similar Tribal Artisans Employment Melas took place in Peren district on 21 September, where 15 artisans were empaneled. These events also occurred in Wokha, Tuensang, and Mokokchung in May 2023. Deputy Commissioner of Mon, Ajit Kumar Verma IAS, has announced that the Tribal Artisans Empanelment Mela (TAeM) in Mon is scheduled to conclude on 29 September 2023.
Established by the Government of India in August 1987 under the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 1984, TRIFED’s primary objective is to promote the socio-economic development of Indian tribal communities by facilitating the trade of Minor Forest Produce and Surplus Agricultural Produce cultivated by them. TRIFED operates 130 retail outlets across India, serving both domestic and international markets.
In 2013, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs introduced mechanisms for marketing Minor Forest Produce through Minimum Support Price and the development of value chains, aimed at ensuring the social well-being of forest produce gatherers. The Van Dhan Yojana, initiated by TRIFED in April 2018, has been implemented in 27 states and 307 districts, furthering the cause of tribal empowerment.
Despite these commendable efforts, challenges remain due to the isolation of tribal communities, leading to limited awareness of such schemes. Greater promotion and awareness-building are needed, along with encouragement for tribal communities to adapt to modernization for increased market access and reduced middleman dependence.
Enhancing the production and promotion of tribal products is crucial to improving the economic condition of India’s tribal population. A substantial increase in production can generate employment opportunities within these communities and ensure the success of marketing strategies aimed at benefiting them.
TRIFED’s Tribal Artisans Employment Melas are a significant step toward economic empowerment for tribal communities in the North East, providing a platform for artisans to showcase their skills and products. While challenges persist, government commitment to these initiatives offers hope for improved economic conditions among India’s tribal population.