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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

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Shefexil urged to go for value addition to boost lac export

Mohan Padmanabhan

Government commits increased financial assistance

Mr Jairam Ramesh

Kolkata , May 30

Keeping in view the export potential of Indian shellac, the Ministry of Commerce has urged the Shellac Export and Forest Products Export Promotion Council (Shefexil), formerly Shellac Export Promotion Council, to go for value addition in lac products and minor forest produce (MFP) and also promote lac cultivation in other States through involvement of tribal population and self-help groups (SHGs).

In a recent interaction with the council members here, Mr Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of State for Commerce, has pledged more Central funds (at least a 10 per cent increase) through schemes such as MDA and Market Access Initiative for promotion of shellac and value added products and other minor forest produce like guar gum.

Technical committee

He said a technical committee would be appointed to explore the export prospects of guar gum in a value added form, and has sought suggestions on this from the industry.

Shellac factories are mainly located in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

He also urged the council to identify more SHGs in Andhra Pradesh and promote lac cultivation.

The SHGs have also been assured financial assistance through Shefexil.

The council is expected to submit a detailed proposal to the Ministry soon on the multi-pronged initiatives required, with special emphasis on adivasi welfare and employment generation.

It is suggested that the proposal should be linked with the tea industry.

According to the Minister, increased export of more and more value added products would help all stakeholders in the industry.

He assured that the Government would favourably consider Shefexil's plea to notify its Shellac Testing Laboratory as an accredited National Agency for issuing pre-shipment certificate, which would enable lac exporters to clear export cargo speedily.

Key issues

According to Mr Pradeep Kumar Shaw, Chairman of Shefexil, which was now the designated nodal agency for minor forest produce, the key issues and concerns which have to be addressed upfront were education, information and awareness of legal rights of SHGs, limiting bamboo exports to Mulli Bamboo of Mizoram, establishing harvesting and FAQ norms for quality and prevention of destructive harvesting.

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