In collaboration with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), the Indian School of Business (ISB) held a district-level training on bamboo harvesting, business orientation, and management strategy in Malkangiri, Odisha. One of the test sites for ISB-Forest BIPP’s Economy programme, which seeks to develop a sustainable forest economy and improve the livelihoods of local populations, is Malkangiri, a region of the state with an abundance of bamboo belts.
“Over the next few months, we should be able to see a new and successful business model emerge that will be exemplary. The District Collector has been very supportive; he & his team have played a key role in facilitating secure tenure to the gram sabhas in Malkangiri,” said Prof. Ashwini Chhatre, Executive Director – BIPP, Indian School of Business. “Security of tenure provides the required foundation for building a sustainable and robust forest-based economy that will bring in rural prosperity and benefit the industry too. On the industry front, BILT Graphic Paper & Products Ltd. (BGPPL) is forthcoming in extending its support to the gram sabhas in preparing for harvest and sale,” he added.
The Forest Economy initiative by ISB-BIPP aims to build a landscape-scale sustainable, thriving forest economy. Forests are sustainable spaces of production and can provide secure sources of raw materials and energy alternatives to the industry, along with improved livelihoods and prosperity to over 200 million forest-dependent communities. Anchored in secure tenure, the forest economy model will enable sustainable forest management, value creation to the economy and a secure source of supply at scale to the industry.
Through the workshop, experts from ISB, ITDA and the Odisha Forest Department shared valuable insights on the bamboo value chain and discussed multiple important aspects covering the sustainable harvesting and bamboo resources’ management, transportation, processing, delivery, and payment processes in detail. Over 70 participants attended the workshop. The GS leaders also benefitted from business planning and operational experience shared by community leaders from Kalahandi’s Mahasabha, a federation of 100 gram sabhas with CFR Titles that have experience in managing their community owned forests and sustainably harvesting Bamboo for sale.
“I am very happy with the progress so far, and it is endearing to see the start of capacity building at the grass-roots level in the district. I am looking forward to the next six months, which will be a big stepping stone in transforming the livelihoods in these gram sabhas. My team and I are geared up to support and enable this transformation,” said Bal Mukund Bhuiyan, Project Director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) and the current District Collector in charge in Malkangiri.
There were three sessions in the workshop. The first session provided the communities with information and direction on all facets of the bamboo sale, including harvest, delivery, transportation, and payment. The second focused on operational planning and policy, emphasising things like the procedures for opening Gram Sabhas’ bank accounts, obtaining PAN cards, and registering for GST, to name a few. The workshop’s last session, which focused on sharing best practises, featured speakers from the Kalahandi Mahasabha, a grouping of roughly 100 Gram Sabhas in the Kalahandi area. They spoke to the attendees about value addition, operating procedures, and best practises.
One of the early achievements of this program has been the market linkages between gram sabhas and industry. During this harvest season, starting October-November 2022 to April-March 2023, BILT Graphic Paper & Products has committed to buying Bamboo directly from the Gram Sabha. This will mark the first formal sale of the 24 Gram Sabhas from Malkangiri, Odisha.
Speaking to the community while attending the session online, Mr. Kunal Shekhar, General Manager, Head of Raw materials & Procurement, BILT Graphic Paper & Products, said, “We are eager to start sourcing bamboo at scale from the gram sabhas in Makangiri. We will support the gram sabhas and communities through the same process.”
ISB has facilitated the submission of claims to CFR (Community Forest Resource Rights) Titles of these 24 Gram Sabhas. The claims have been submitted to the Sub-Divisional Level Committee (SDLC). The next step will be approval from the SDLC, submission to the District Level Committee (DLC) and issuance of CFR Titles by the DLC. Security of tenure is the fulcrum that will enable the building of a robust and sustainable forest economy that will immensely benefit the communities & the industry and facilitate sustainable management of forest spaces.
Mr. Pratap Kotapalli, IFS, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), said, “We will use our experience and expertise in training and guiding the gram sabhas for sustainable bamboo harvesting and sale. We are geared up to support in making this new business model happen.”
Bharti Institute of Public Policy (BIPP), Indian School of Business (ISB), focuses on research and education in the domain of public policy. The institute works on policy challenges across diverse domains, primarily Agriculture and Food, Environment, Education, Finance, Governance and Digital Identity. The flagship programme of the institute is the Advanced Management Programme in Public Policy (AMPPP) which caters to mid and senior-level professionals both from the public and private sectors.
“This workshop will be very useful to the gram sabhas in preparing for the bamboo harvest, its sale and overall management of business and operations. We are happy for the participation from all the important stakeholders,” said Mr. Trinath Majhi, Project Administrator, ITDA.
The Indian School of Business gained the unique distinction of receiving accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA), making it the 100th School in the world to achieve the ‘triple crown’ of accreditations from AMBA, EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Accreditation from AMBA represents the highest standard of achievement in post-graduate business education. Its rigorous assessment criteria ensure that only the highest-caliber programmes which demonstrate the best standards in teaching, curriculum, and student interaction achieve Association of MBAs accreditation.