For several decades, the tribal communities in Chalakudy have been engaged in the collection of a variety of Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs). Previously, the tribal communities were forced to sell them to middlemen at low prices due to limited access to proper marketing channels. This system kept these communities trapped in poverty. However, with the formation of Vana Samrakshana Samitis (VSS) in fringe areas, and Eco-development Committees in wildlife areas, a strategy was implemented for the collection, value addition, and marketing of forest products through Vanasree, the official NTFP brand of the Kerala Forest Department. This initiative has led to a significant increase in income for tribal communities by overcoming the exploitation of middlemen. Through the Vanasree initiative, the Forest Department aims to improve the lives of forest-dependent tribal communities by facilitating the collection, processing, value addition, and market access for NTFPs traditionally collected from pristine evergreen forests. It strives for a two-fold objective:

  • Bringing the benefits of plant-based products directly to consumers.
  • Empowering forest-dependent communities by improving their livelihoods.

The Vanasree outlet located near Civil Station in Chalakudy was established in 2011 to sell value-added NTFPs, handcrafts and other products. Over the years the Vanasree outlet of the Chalakudy Forest Development Agency has become the face of selling organic and unadulterated forest products in the region.

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