Young farmers in Chirang take up lac cultivation

From our Correspondent

KOKRAJHAR, February 1: Lac cultivation (Ziziphus mauritia) has got a good start in Chirang district as some cultivators of the district have started its cultivation in plum trees in the river bank areas. Lac cultivation is new for the people of the region.  This cultivation is at present taking over the markets, especially in Ranchi of Jharkhand.

Lac, a tural resin of insect origin act as livelihood for resource constrained farmers living in forest and sub–forest areas of India. Of the four commercial hosts mely Scheitia oleosa, butea monosperma, ziziphus mauritia and flemingia semialata, Z. mauritia is suitale and potential host for both kusmi and rangeeni lac insect. The tree is very hard which can withstand extreme low and high temperature.  The productivity of both types of lac is substantially high, coppice ability of host tree is outstanding as trees are ready for re–inoculation after 5–6 months if pruning is done. The refined technology for kusmi lac production on this lac host results in ensured and higher productivity of quality lac. Now, technology for exclusive utilization of this species and in combition with other hosts like B. monosperma and S. oleosa are available.

A group of young farmers of Chirang district is concentrating on the lac cultivation by forming a society med Aie Valley Lac Producers and Allied Agro Marketing Cooperative Society Limited in 2014 with Dominic Basumatary as chairman and Kamal Basumatary as secretary. They started the cultivation in plum trees which has yielded desired result. An eight–member group of young farmers have already got their training on lac cultivation at the Indian Institute of tural Resins and Gums, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (IINRG), mkin, Ranchi in Jharkhand recently. The technical experts from the institute have already visited the sites of production of lac in Chirang district and hinted said the region has huge potential for lac cultivation.

Talking to The Sentinel at Aie Powali, one of the project sites in Chirang, the chairman of Aie Valley Lac Producers and Allied Agro Marketing Cooperative Society Ltd., Dominic Basumatary said people of the region had no idea about the lac culture despite the areas having vast potential for lac cultivation. He said the cultivation of lac provided livelihood support to millions of forest and sub–forest dwellers who were otherwise denied from the benefit of rural development. He said the merits of lac cultivation ensured production even in drought condition, easy marketability, high return with low investment, low risk, less manpower and time devotion, non–perishable cash crop, facilitate conservation of biodiversity, little interference with agriculture and horticulture crops and even degradable land could be utilized for lac cultivation.

Basumatary who has started the cultivation in his residential compound said the lac cultivation had maximum opportunities for earning than cultivation of rubber, tea and other cash crops. He said the region had vast potential with tural plum trees which were not used by the people. He said the society had already cultivated the lac in Aiepowali, Kagrabari in Shantipur, Runikhata and Aiedubri in Chirang district and they were looking for expansion of lac cultivation. He also said the society would receive 1.5 tones brood lac from the IINRG, Ranchi, Jharkhand after the first week of February and the brood lac would be distributed among 150 farmers for cultivation in their respective sites. Besides, the beneficiaries under their society will get spray machine, scrapping knife, secateurs, aspic rocker, indoxacarb and bavistin for pesticide control. He further said that the lac cultivation could reduce the unemployment problem in the region. More than 2000 varieties of products can be made from the lac, from lipstick and cold drink colors to furniture dye and medicines.

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