TRIFED – Empowering Tribals Financially

For promoting products and skills of tribal artisans particularly in handicrafts and with the ultimate objective of increasing  their incomes by creating sustainable markets, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) has been consistently expanding operations over the past few years.

Marketing Operations

 TRIFED has  established marketing support through 23 retail outlets titled TRIBES INDIA, an exclusive shop of tribal artifacts espousing tribal cause, at  important locations of the country.  In addition, there are consignment outlets at 14 places including Nathu La Pass, Leh and Goa.   
Tribes India, showcases the most exquisite authentic tribal art and craft items crafted and sculpted by tribes from all over India.  All products are eco-friendly, made from naturally available raw materials and are reasonably priced. At present, eight categories of products namely Tribal Textiles & Embroidery, Metal Crafts, Tribal Jewellery, Cane &  Bamboo products and Stone Pottery, Tribal Paintings, Gifts & Novelties, Organic & natural products are showcased and marketed through the outlets. During the year 2009-10, around 196 new tribal art & craft items were selected for marketing which were made by tribal artisans belonging to various tribes.
The sales turnover has grown from Rs.162.56 Lakh in 2005-06 to Rs.688.20 Lakh in 2009-10.

Tribal Artisans Exhibitions

TRIFED organizes Tribal Artisans Melas (TAMs) in order to identify new artisans and empanelling them as suppliers. Such effort serves the purpose of creating sustainable livelihoods for the tribal artisans as well as ensuring steady supply chain for TRIFED. During the year 2009-10, 7 TAMs were organised in Guwahati (for North East Region), Jhabua (MP), Dharchula (Uttrakhand), Chalansari (HP), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and Udaipur (Rajasthan) in which 304 artisans of 14 States participated. 
TRIFED also organizes exhibitions known as ‘Aadishilp’ for providing platform to tribal artisans for marketing of their products.  During the year 2009-10 such exhibitions were organized in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Shimla,  Amritsar,  Jullandhar and Lucknow in which 576 artisans from various States participated to sell their  products. Total sales registered  in  these exhibitions were  Rs.162.57 lakh.
In 2009-10, TRIFED in partnership with Ministry of Culture,  mobilized participation of tribal artisans from North-Eastern States in four OCTAVEs (an exhibition event involving artisans of eight North Estates States)  at Surat, Lucknow, Amritsar and Kolkata in which 93 tribal artisans participated.

Role As Canalising Agency

            TRIFED is the sole canalizing agency in the country for exports of Gum Karaya since 1989.  The exports increased to Rs. 22.83 crores in the year 2009-10 as against Rs. 19.90 crore of the previous year, thus showing an increase of 15%.  


For skill upgradation and capacity building, training is imparted to Minor Forest Produce (MFP) gatherers and tribal artisans. These include training to Mahua flower gatherers, Gum pickers, Honey collectors, Lac cultivators and tribal women SHGs on Leaf Cup & Plate (Dona-pattal) making.
Training is also being imparted to Handicraft Artisans where it organizes Primary Level Training (PLT), Advance Level Training (ALT) and Design Workshop Training (DWT). In PLT, tribals are imparted training to produce the craft items while in ALT some advance techniques are taught to those  tribals who are showing good performance in PLTs.  Further in DWT only empanelled suppliers of TRIFED are chosen and lessons of market oriented designs are taught to them.

Research And Development

TRIFED has taken up Research and Development projects on value addition of Mahuwa Flower, Sal oil, Sal de-oil cake, fermentation for utilization of Forest based products  and also development of post-harvest technology for storage and value addition of selected Minor Forest Produces (MFPs). The idea is that if TRIFED can get the value-added products made through R&D activities and bring about commercial production of the same, then the prices of the raw material i.e. MFP shall automatically increase as per the market forces.  This will result in getting better prices for the tribals than they were getting earlier. 
            During the year 2009-10, six Research and Development projects were initiated through six different Research Institutions in consultation with IIT, Delhi at a budgetary outlay of Rs.94.60 Lakh.

New Initiatives

            The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has signed an MOU with the Nation’s premier fashion institute – NIFT to improve designs of the tribals art and craft items and establish TRIBES INDIA as a brand and with National Literacy Mission Authority, Department of Adult Education (Ministry of HRD) to bring the tribals artisans being trained by the Jan Shikha Sansthan, into fold of TRIFED’s marketing operations.
            New showrooms at GPO Mumbai and Indore are underway. Besides. institutional arrangement has been made with specialized Government agencies of North-Eastern Region States for supply of ethnic tribal arts and crafts items to TRIBES India.
Special preparation is on the way for the Common Wealth Games season. This includes identification of about 100 specific products for sales during the Common Wealth season through its three showrooms in Delhi and Special Handicraft Shop at Games Village. For the identified products, the supply line is being strengthened.
            Identification is on for more number of individual tribal artisans, SHGs/NGOs and grass-root agencies involved in tribal products so as to bring them into the supply line of TRIFED, through its various Regional Offices across the country.
            Specific thrust is being given on training and skill upgradation of the tribal artisans in a systematic manner through NIFT so as to improve the product designs.
Preparation is on for customized special promotional publicity materials. (PIB Features)

*Inputs from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs