COLLECTION AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF MINOR FOREST PRODUCTS IN WEST MEDINIPUR DISTRICT OF WEST BENGALSangjukta Das, Neelam Khare, Arindam Dey and Hemant Kumar
The collection and trading of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) is seen as a lucrative business. It is a significant means of improving the socio-economic situations of indigenous groups living in forest periphery areas, particularly in India. In order to assess collecting, marketization costs of different NTFPs, pricespread, marketing channels, marketing challenges, and prospects of NTFPs in boosting the income of forest fringe people, a study was undertaken in the Paschim Medinipur area of West Bengal. The study also emphasises the significance of comprehending the wide range of use values that should be attributed to forest lands. The current study was conducted using primary and secondary data, as well as a market survey, in twelve sample villages with a total of sixty households. The information was analysed using descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentage, and so on. In these villages in Paschim Medinipur district, there are about 15-20 NTFPs that are extensively found and commercialised. Dry fuel wood, sal leaf, mahua, and mushroom are the most often obtained NTFPs. Aside from that, medicinal herbs such as Kalmegh, Horitoki, and Bahera, among others, are picked and sold in the market. In this area, females are the primary NTFP collectors. Sal trees are the most valuable (UVSal = 3.5) among the species, while mushrooms and Kalmegh have the lowest use value (UVMushroom = 0.5, UVKalmegh = 0.5). When it comes to price-spread analysis, the highest price-spread ratio is for Sal leaves (13.78), followed by Kurchi seeds (7.0) and the smallest for mushrooms (0.25). NTFPs are mostly distributed through both informal and formal channels, with Mahua having the highest net income in terms of income generation among the NWFPs. The successful commercialization of MFPs in the current study area has the potential to raise local peopleâs living standards.