Deinichwa Dkhar and K. P. Raghuprasad
University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) play a crucial role in sustaining the livelihoods and preserving the cultural heritage of tribal communities in Meghalaya. Understanding the knowledge of tribal farmers in processing NTFPs is imperative for promoting sustainable resource management. NTFPs encompass all the biological materials other than timber which are extracted from forests for human use such as broom grass, bay leaf, bamboo, honey etc. The study was conducted in two districts of Meghalaya i.e., East Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi district, with respondents from eight villages. An ex post facto research design was followed and based on availability of NTFPs in the villages and dependency, a total of 160 participants belonging to Khasi tribes were purposively selected for data collection. The study revealed the mean knowledge score of 28.17 with a half-standard deviation of 1.48. Among the respondents, 43.75 per cent had low knowledge, 25.00 per cent had medium knowledge and 31.25 per cent demonstrated high knowledge levels. Correlation analysis revealed significant positive associations between knowledge level and variables such as educational status, material possession, annual income, extension contacts, and scientific orientation at the 0.01 level of significance. Marketing pattern, cosmopoliteness, extension participation and market orientation showed significance at the 0.05 level, while fatalism exhibited a negative correlation at the same level. The top three constraints faced by tribal farmers were insufficient infrastructure for processing and storage (Rank I), lack of adequate knowledge (Rank II) and difficulties in accessing markets due to remote locations and poor transportation networks (Rank III) which needs policy interventions by the concern authorities.