Priya Abraham of The Telegraph writes :
High-end hotels in Europe are keen to serve meals to their customers on biodegradable plates made of siali leaves that are now being sourced from tribal pockets of Odisha.
About 3,500 women from 127 tribal hamlets in Kandhamal, Sambalpur, Angul and Deogarh have entered into a formal agreement with Leaf Democracy, a German company, to supply one lakh siali leaf plates every month.
Middlemen, most of them from the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, used to bulk purchase the leaves for just Rs 10 a kilogram (about 150 leaves) and supply it to hundreds of temples in the state. They are now facing tough competition from the Leaf Democracy, which pays Re 1 for each leaf or Rs 150 a kilogram.
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