The project recognizes that for sustainable forest resource management, livelihood improvement of the communities living in forest-fringe areas is imperative. Therefore, Livelihood activities under the project are being planned and implemented through Self Help Groups (SHGs) in selected project Van Panchayats following a Value-chain based approach wherein project support are directed to finance important inputs of the production process. A value chain includes all the aspects of production right from product development inputs, training and capacity building, capital investments, hand-holding support to market support. Till date, 1503 SHGs having 15, 237 members have been formed. Priority has been given to the vulnerable sections of the community, women, SC/ST and other marginalized sections of the community within Van Panchayats. The SHGs have been federated into 20 cluster-level federations (CLFs) who are further federated into an apex state-level federation.
The cluster-level federation facilitates the member SHGs in aggregation of marketable surplus from SHGs, and provides support in procurement of commodities, sorting, grading, storage and value addition of produce. The state-level federation supports the cluster-level federation to access larger markets at the state and national level, explore the possibility of developing new products, value addition, Improvement in packaging and in establishing a strong brand presence in the market for the products. The state level federation is envisaged to serve as a vehicle for providing any other support required by cluster level federations/SHGs to achieve their objectives and to impart sustainability to livelihood activities beyond project period.
The federations have been formed under the Uttarakhand Self Reliant Co-operative Act, 2003 and support for infrastructure facilities, working capital and other administrative expenses are being provided through the project. Project support for the value chain projects are partly as grant and partly as interest-free loans depending on the type of input being supported. All the project support for value-chain development are routed through these federations in order to develop long-term organic linkages between SHGs and the federations. This fund flow mechanism is expected to facilitate post-project sustainability and foster a sense of ownership, involvement and accountability. This will also further build capacity of the federations and SHGs for managing enterprises for the sustainability of the project initiatives.
The products are currently marketed by the state level federation under the brand name “HavePure” through its dedicated “My Re-Fill store ” outlets and also online through the www.Havepure.in portal.
As an incentive, a revolving fund of Rs 50,000 per SHG has been made available through the project to facilitate inter-loaning. Grading of SHGs is done based on the criteria of regularity of monthly meetings, monthly savings, inter-loaning, repayment of loans and the upkeep of account books. The project has facilitated 0ver 600 SHGs to obtain Cash Credit Limit (CCL) from banking institutions. 108 value chain projects related to activities like Dairy milk, spices, mushroom production, poultry and goatery, cereals, pulses, juices, processed fruit and pickles, honey, lemon grass and other aromatics etc. are under implementation. Total Project assistance to the value chain projects is to the tune of Rs. 1549 Lakh. The turnover of the value chain activities in the CLFs was Rs. 670.59 Lakh in the Fiscal year 2022-2023 while the income accrued to SHG members stood at Rs. 4498 Lakhs in 2022-2023. It is also notable that support from the project in the form of interest-free loans are being repaid by the SHGs to the federations which reflects the robustness of the livelihood activities and their economic soundness. To provide long term infrastructure support for the sustainability of the CLFs beyond the project period, four growth centers suitably located in different locations in the state have been constructed with the objective of providing an integrated space wherein machinery and tools for value addition and packaging would be installed. Additionally, the growth centers will also provide facilities of office room, storage, sale point, training facilities and other activities of the CLFs.