The idea of supporting enterprises quickly formed after the start of Keystone Foundation. From the marketing of honey and homestead products, this support led to the establishment of the Green Shops, Last Forest Enterprises and Aadhimalai Producer Company, whose continued efforts kept their businesses growing. Today, they provide a base for better livelihoods and a source of income for hundreds of people in indigenous communities.

Considering the desire for a holistic approach in all development activities undertaken by Keystone, enterprises form a crucial and integral role in the continued tradition of eco-development. Enterprises can integrate the realities of business management with needs of marginalized indigenous communities – and stand for quality, eco-friendliness, fair pricing and eliminating the existing exploitative trade by middlemen. Besides the direct work required for maintaining the enterprises, their integration with other projects of Keystone and keeping up with the emerging organics market in India is important as this life-sustaining sector continues to develop and expand.

Programme Components

CHALLENGES

Accessibility to produce and logistics of transport – some villages and production centers are hard to reach both in terms of roads and communications •  Managing cash flows • Keeping up work at production centres – some centres had to close down due to lack of interest in maintaining the day to day work • Quality control •  Market access for some produce in large quantities is often erratic

INTERVENTIONS

Buying produce at rates which usually is higher than market equivalent •  Establishing a market for value-added NTFP  as well as agricultural produce • Providing bonuses for producers at the end of each year based on the generated profits • Life insurance for honey hunters • Providing a marketing platform • Promoting principles of “organic” and social entrepreneurship • Awareness-building • Capacity building of communities in decision making • Continuous interface with the consumers on principles of the enterprises • Abiding by fair trade principles and practices

IMPACTS

Improved income levels • Influencing market rates – ramping up price levels for organic, value added NFTPs • Securing sustained and sustainable livelihoods • Establishing a model for how marketing and production can be successful in indigenous communities • Empowering communities towards realizing a better future

 

 

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