A Study on Lac Cultivators of Rural Jharkhand with Particular Reference to Khunti District
Dilip Kumar Mahto
The present investigation was carried out in two villages of Karra and Murhu block of Khunti district during February-2013 to June-2013. This investigation was completed through questionnaire and personal interview among the selected farmers. Lac is considered to be an important cash crop by the poor cultivators in almost all the major lac-growing states of our country. It was observed that the lac cultivation is the main source of income for the selected villagers of the studied villages i.e. Chanpi and Pasrabera. The project objectives have been piloted based on their socio-economic structure, livelihood, technology adoption, prospect and marketing of lac or its products with their constraints. Now-a-days, lac cultivation has become very popular for the villagers of the studied areas because of its high income generating capability. It was observed that scientific methods of lac cultivation provided them high income and reduce involved risk. Ber, Kusum and Palas were main and important available host trees for lac cultivation in the surveyed villages. Approximately, 72 kg of broodlac was harvested in one year by one lac grower. Average net return from lac cultivation was recorded as Rs. 15080.34 and Rs. 7177.34 per farmer for the selected respondents of Chanpi and Pasrabera, respectively. On the contrary, Benefit Cost Ratio was observed 2.037 and 3.019 for the lac cultivators of Chanpi and Pasrabera, respectively. The shortage of funds for purchase of inputs, non-availability of inputs in local and nearby markets, theft of lac, shortage of brood lac, insect death due to climatic change, lack of information on current price of lac, scientific knowledge on lac cultivation, difficulty in cultivation operations due to host height etc. were the main constrains faced by the lac growers. Some marketing behaviours commonly practised by the lac growers were also documented in the present study. Almost every lac cultivator sells their lac products as brood lac (˃ 10 kg at a time) immediately after harvesting. For selling of stick lac, they have to travel more than 10 km away from their village.
Key Words: Lac, Laccifer lacca, Livelihood, Marketing, Lac hosts, Constraints, Technology, Lac Cultivators.