BEND IT LIKE BAMBOO! TWICHIN GRAM BARI BMC, TRIPURA Replicable Mechanisms of Access and Benefit Sharing WINNER 2021


Twichin Gram Panchayat is a small village of roughly 840 hectares located in Khowai district of Tripura. Around 97 per cent of the population in the village are tribals. In 2015, the village community constituted its BMC to address the challenge of securing equitable local livelihood while ensuring sustainable use of biological resources. The livelihood associated risk of human-wildlife conflict was also a key concern. The Twichin Gram Bari BMC took the challenges head on, with a collaborative approach. The BMC successfully signed an ABS agreement in 2016 for the sale of two key varieties of bamboo. the use and sale of which is the source of livelihood of the local community. The locally grown bamboo is chiefly used in the manufacturing of umbrella handles and bag handles. In this context, the BMC in collaboration with their local Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC) and the State Forest Department fixed a minimum selling price of around INR 2.00/ piece for the umbrella handles and INR 1.50/piece for bag handles. The BMC also seeks to explore other avenues on ABS agreements for other bioresources found in their village.

Need for the Initiative

The village of Twichin faced a unique challenge of contradictory goals with respect to different stakeholders. Firstly, the local people, living on the forest fringes and mostly reliant on Minor Forest Produce (MFP) such as bamboo and wild cardamom, faced the problem of inaccessibility to reliable market linkages to sell their produce profitably. Secondly, as per the mandates of the BD Act, 2002, it was imperative to ensure that the bioresource collection did not pose a threat to biodiversity conservation in the area while also providing fair and equitable benefits to the local communities involved in the collection. Additionally, the MFP collection created a potential for adverse human-elephant interactions due to the feeding preference of wild elephants towards bamboo shoots. Thus, the convergence of various challenges such as securing the livelihood of local communities, sustainable extraction of bioresources and mitigation of human-elephant conflict required the planning and implementation of a solution that not only holistically addressed these challenges but also fulfilled the core mandates of the BD Act.

Conservation Initiatives and Impacts

The solution to address the multiple challenges affecting different stakeholders could only be found through a collaborative approach. The primary action taken was the formation of BMC by the Twichin Gram Bari Panchayat, under the mandate of the BD Act. The very next year, in 2016, the BMC signed an ABS agreement for the sale of two key commercially viable varieties of bamboo- Melocanna baccifera (muli bamboo) and Thyrsostachys oliveri (Kanak kaich bamboo). The successful implementation of ABS led to the augmentation of income source for the local communities over the years. To balance the commercial use of bamboo, the BMC also implemented a local blanket ban over the collection and extraction of bamboo in the village for one year which would help in the sustainable use of the bioresource over its indiscriminate use and also served as a mitigation in response to the human-wildlife conflict in the village. The collaboration and integrative approach of the Twichin Gram Bari BMC with the local JFMC and the Forest Department helped in raising awareness among stakeholders through workshops and sensitization programmes. Institutional support was also provided from various sources. The Tripura SBB handed over a cheque amounting INR 10,600 to the BMC Chairperson in a felicitation ceremony as an acknowledgement of the efforts of the BMC. The BMC also received funds through the NBA under GEF-ABS projects amounting INR 25,000 and INR 30,000 in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Funds are also being continuously accumulated through the ABS agreements on bamboo and other bioresources. The traders, who had signed the agreement with the BMC donated office infrastructures to the BMC and even presented books to the children of the harvesters as an appreciation towards seamless handling of the procedures.

• The agreement on ABS opened up new avenues for a streamlined marketplace for the local communities to fetch a source of income.
• In 2020, due to the ABS agreement on locally grown bamboos, the total monetary benefit derived out of the use of bioresource was INR 7.70 lakhs, of which Twichin Gram Bari BMC’s share was worth INR 15,400.
• With the decision of local BMCs to ban for over-exploitation of bamboos in the village helped in natural rejuvenation of the bamboos in the forest and for its sustainable use in the future. This decision also helped in addressing human-elephant conflict within the village.
• Twichin Gram Bari BMC in collaboration with the local JFMC & State Forest Dept. also took on the initiative of collaborating with adjacent BMCs to strengthen capacity, share knowledge on the use of bio-resources, and promote conservation for sustainable use of their bioresources.
• Realising the need for conservation of bioresources, Twichin Gram Bari BMC also took on the initiative of planting bamboo within the village to minimize their dependence on natural forest for extraction of the bamboos.
• In 2019, Twichin Gram Bari BMC also signed an ABS agreement over the use of wild cardamom (Mucuna sp.), which generated a substantial collection of INR two lakhs with per kilogram sold at the rate of INR 2,000. The BMC has also planned for future ABS agreement over potential high value bioresource such as Homalomena aromatic, which is used as an aromatic medicinal herb and found in their village.

Recognition in India Biodiversity Awards

TWICHIN GRAM BARI BMC, Replicable Mechanisms of Access and Benefit Sharing WINNER 2021