A Boost for Lac Cultivation in Jharkhand

Kairodi Village, West Singhbhum District, Jharkhand | Xavier Hamsay

A new scientific method of lac cultivation is picking up in Jharkhand, a state which contributed about 56% to India's total lac produced in 2013-14. A local farmer, Gopi Chaki has been doing his bit to promote this method among tribal farmers in his area.

Lac, a resin produced by a small insect on host trees, is used in the production of things ranging from ammunition, turpentine to little artefacts. Scientists at the Indian Institute of Natural Resins and Gums have been experimenting with cultivating lac on Flemingia semialata trees as an alternative to trees like Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) and Kusum (Schleichera oleosa) which make for labour-intensive lac cultivation.

"Kusum trees grow tall and Ber trees are thorny. So farmers find it difficult to cultivate on these and lac farming has been reducing in our area. With Semialata, things become easy for farmers-- these are short trees which yield a minimum of 8 kilograms per tree and the profit margins only increase with time," explains Correspondent Xavier.

With a massive profit to be made for those cultivating lac, the government of Jharkhand has put in place schemes to assist farmers. "The District Collector of West Singhbhum had apparently announced that semialata saplings will be distributed among farmers. But it seems that there has been some siphoning of money as usual and the farmers have neither received the news of this distribution, nor any funds to help them," says Xavier who is now looking into this issue to help farmers. To make sure that they get this assistance, you can join Xavier.

Call to Action: Please call the Block Development Officer Mr M.S. Parwez on +91 8084089636 and ask him to ensure that benefits of state schemes reach lac farmers.

Community Correspondents comes from marginalized communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyper local context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.

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