Jajpur, May 12 (LocalWire): Collection of mahua flowers (Madhuca indica) in the summer is one of the main occupations of the tribal communities of Jajpur district; however, this has come to a standstill due to the the ongoing lockdown.
Tribal people and forest dwellers have been collecting the sweet-tasting minor forest produce (MFP) during summer to supplement their modest income.
Though mahuli, in general, is synonymous with an alcoholic beverage popular in the state, the tribals also prepare cakes, jams and other food items from Mahuli flowers after drying it.
Tribal people of Mahagiri, Salijanga, Nahuranipasi, Tamaka, Kamarada, Chingudipala, Kusumadiha, Mangalapur, and other villages of the district are the main collectors of Mahua flower.
“It is the peak season of flower collection, but we are struggling to take the flowers to the market to sell,” said Sarala Munda, a tribal woman of Bhimatangara village in Sukinda.
The economy of tribal flower collectors has been suffering because of the lockdown, as the markets have been shut for more than a month leaving traders in the lurch.
Rising number of COVID-19 positive cases in Jajpur forced the government to declare the district a red zone.
“We have fixed Rs 17 per kilogram as the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Mahuli flower and directed the traders to purchase flowers from the tribals by paying the MSP.
Recently the government allowed farmers to sell their products in the markets during the lockdown period,” said an official of Tribal Development Cooperative Corporation (TDCC) of Odisha.