Tribal farmer upgrades to lac cultivation, bags award

RAIPUR: Purushottam Mandavi, a farmer hailing from Naxal-affected Kanker district would probably still have to depend on his tradional rain-dependent paddy cultivation which earned him a meagre amount of Rs 60,000 annually, had he not come in touch with agricultural scientists of Kanker’s Krishi Vigyaan Kendra, who inspired him to take on lac cultivation. Lac is a resinous secretion from a microscopic insect called Lac insect (Laccifera lacca) as a protective covering that inhabits on Ber, Palas and Kusum trees.
As per Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidhlaya’s spokesperson, since Purushottam Mandavi of Charama block started cultivating lac, his income has increased five times. He now earns Rs 5 lakh annual as compared to the Rs 60, 000 amount that he earned through cultivation of paddy. This has made him a pioneer of sorts among his farmer peers and has set an example for other tribal farmers of the region. Chhattisgarh government has for long promoted lac cultivation through various schemes so that farmers can earn additional income. The Shellac is the processed product and widely used in confectionary, food products, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paints and varnishes. In the first year of production, Mandavi earned Rs 1 lakh by growing five quintal of lac substance on just one acre of his land as compared to the four acres of land that he used for paddy. Purushottam has been conferred with state level award for promoting lac production in tribal and naxal affected area.