Kendu Leaves "A Livelihood Support"
Kendu Leaves provides livelihood to millions in the western and southern parts of Odisha. It provides hard cash by creating employment opportunities for tribals , harijans and other landless people during summer when there is hardly any agricultural work or any possibilities of wage work. This income is of special importance to the farmers as it provides them the wherewithal to buy inputs for the next agricultural operation.
Most of the kendu plants growing areas are situated in the former princely States of Odisha. KL operation is carried out in an area of 6 lakh hectares in 23 districts with Angul, Bolangir, Koraput, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Nawrangpur, Sambalpur & Sundergarh being the major KL producing districts. It creats more than 15 million persondays of work every season. Odisha is a largest producer of processed KL after Madhya Pradesh.
Inorder to regulate KL trade, the State government declared Kendu Leaves (Control and Distribution) Order, 1949. The main purpose is to survive the Kendu Trade & the quality of the leaves did not go down. The most important legislation guiding KL trade has been the Odisha KL (Control of Trade) Act, 1961, which tried to regulate the trade. After the nationalization in 1973, collection and trading of Kendu leaf is being carried out entirely by the State government.