Access and Benefit Sharing by the Raipassa Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC),


Raipassa is a small village in Dhalai District in the state of Tripura in North-East India, with a total population of around 2900, out of which 51per cent comprise tribal communities. 69 per cent of its area is under forest cover with vegetation that is characteristic of tropical evergreen, semi evergreen, and moist deciduous forests along with a sizable area that is covered with bamboo brakes.[1] The NTFPs comprise bamboo and broom grass (Thysanolaena maxima) along with several medicinal and aromatic plants such as Gandhaki (Homalomena aromatica), Alakushi (Mucuna pruriens) and cardamom (Amomum subulatum)[2]. The broom grass (T. maxima) is a perennial, high value and non-perishable cash crop, and its inflorescence is widely used for manufacturing soft brooms.[3]

Need for the Initiative

The Raipassa Village Council was approached by several commercial institutions for accessing the broom grass. The way in which genetic resources are accessed, and the benefits of their use are shared, can create incentives for their conservation and sustainable use, and contribute to a fairer and more equitable economy. India, a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, has enacted the Biological Diversity Act in 2002 (BDA, 2002) and one of the major components of the act is to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and related knowledge. It mandates for constituting institutions at the national, state and local level, for effective implementation of the law.

Conservation Initiatives and Impacts

In line with the national and international legal framework on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), the Raipassa Village Council, constituted a Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC) at the Panchayat level in 2017, with seven members from the community. On the same day the BMC entered into a contract with Shri Champa Lal Modak for providing access to the biological resources, while sharing benefits arising out of its use, among the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC), BMC and Tripura Biodiversity Board (TBB). The inputs from the Tripura Minor Forest Produce Traders Union and a Legal Advisory Group (LAG) comprising legal experts, helped the BMC to finalize the terms of agreement based on Prior Informed Consent and Mutually Agreed Terms. The buyer agreed to pay higher rates for the produce as the procedure of procuring the raw material became simpler. There is now a regular supply of the raw material at a fixed price and a single point of contact, as opposed to negotiating with multiple collectors and cultivators. The legal document ensures that 5% of the total sale proceeds are transferred to the accounts of the JFMC, through which the collection of the broom grass is carried out, 2% of the total sale value is shared with the BMC and 1% of the sales proceeds is shared with the TBB. The Field Technical Agent, from the TBB ensures compliance of the terms by both parties. Raipassa residents collect about 50 tonnes of broom grass per season and sell it at the rate of approximately Rs. 22/Kg. The BMC ensures sustainable extraction of the grass by assuring that a limited quantity of grass is extracted from a particular forest area within a set time period. It also encourages the community members to cultivate the bio-resources on private lands. Since the broom grass has a high cost to benefit ratio, its cultivation is expanding rapidly. Around 80% of the community is now engaged in the cultivation and collection of the grass. Encouraged by the successful ABS model, the BMC now plans to cultivate Gandhaki (Homalomena aromatica) and Arecanut (Areca catechu) in the region and sell them to commercial institutions through similar ABS agreements.

Recognition in India Biodiversity Awards

The Raipassa won the India Biodiversity Award under the category ‘Access and Benefit Sharing ’ in 2018.

Contact - A. K. Gupta Tel. +91 8259891830 Email:,