Kendu leaf is also a nationalized product like Bamboo and Sal seed. It is called green gold of Odisha. Botanical name of Tendu (Kendu) leaf is Diospyros Melanoxylon. Tendu leaf is one of the most important non-wood forest products of Odisha. The valuable leaves are used for wrapping Bidis, popular smoke especially among poor natives. The states producing BIDI leaf in India comprises mainly MP, Chhatisgarh, Odisha, AP, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Maharastra.
Odisha is the third largest producer of kendu leaf next to M.P. and Chatisgarh.The annual production of Bidi Leaf in Odisha is around 4.5 to 5 lakhs quintal, which is about 20% of the countries annual production. Kendu leaf is available in 50 Sub Division of all the 30 districts. But the following Districts cover maximum Kendu leaf growing areas. The districts are Sundergarh, Anugul, Deogarh , Kalahandi, keonjhar, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Malkanagri, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Dhenkanal, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Baragarh, Bolangir, Sonepur, Boudh and Nuapada.
The kendu leaf of the Balangir District is traded as the best kendu leaf through out India. The Uniqueness of Odisha's Tendu (kendu) leaf is in processed form where as the rest of the states in India produces in Phal Form.
In processed form the Kendu leafs are graded into different qualities that are Grade I to Grade IV as per the specification of color, texture, size and body condition of the leaf and packets will be done by taking Five Kilograms as a Bundle. Twelve Bundles of Five Kilogram of each are packed in a gunny bag and 100 such bag equivalent to sixty quintals make one truckload. Where as no gradation is done in respect of PHAL Leaf and only loose leafs are packed tightly inside the gunny bag.
The kendu leaf is collected and processed by kendu leaf wing of the forest department. It is a seasonal operation involving huge number of labourers (both skilled and non skilled) during season of operation. Seasonal Trained workers process the KL and after processing of the kendu leaf, the lots are formed and delivered to OFDC for marketing.
OFDC then call open tender in a prescribed formats mentioning the list of lots and the intended tenderers offer their prices against the interested lots subject to specified terms & conditions. On fixed date the tenders are opened and announced the prices quoted by each tenderer before all the tenderers.
A chance is given for negotiating the offer where the tenderers may enhance the rate against the quoted rate after words the successful bidder are declared and rectification order is issued in favor of them.
After execution of an agreement the purchaser lift the kendu leaf on a valid issued by forest department.
One who is interested to participate in the kendu leaf tenders must have to register with the OFDC limited. After paying a fixed amount of Rs 10,000 in the form of the bank draft or NSC drawn in favor of OFDC ltd from any nationalized bank payable at Bhubaneswar.
Kendu leaf in Odisha is sold by a standard weight which constitute one lot is equal to 100 bags and each bag contains 12 bundle each of 5 kg. This means one lot of processed kenduleaf generally constitutes 60 quintals of kendu leaf. Average selling price of Kenduleaf varies between Rs 30 to Rs 80 per kgs depending on grades.