Improving value chains, developing new products and establishing a new community-owned organization

ATREE has helped set up a federation of more than 250 SHGs to improve value chains, develop and market new products and negotiate fair prices for green environment friendly products. This has translated into a 30% increase in income, of more than 4000 households, which will directly benefit from the micro enterprises. In addition, it is expected that double this number of households will indirectly benefit from these interventions.

In order to ensure a viable self sustaining outlet for products, ATREE undertook a market analysis - identified high value ecosystem products and services, assessed their processing methods, studied market potentials for each selected product and identified profitable market outlets, including end users.

The result is Life and Leaf store in Darjeeling, a fair trade outlet that retails SHG products of bamboo craft, malingo weaving, stitch craft, paper craft, organic tea etc. It is a registered organization under the Indian Societies Act with a democratic governance system to generate income and build capacities for conservation of biodiversity and development of green enterprises. The Company is staffed by a representative of an SHG and a marketing professional. A web-marketing strategy and a website are being developed (visit www.lifeandleaf.org). Life and Leaf markets the products of 70 SHGs in the Eastern Himalayas (Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Sikkim, Darjeeling). Revenue generated is being ploughed back for building capacity of self help groups.