I am a journalist, working as Balangir correspondent of the English daily "The Pioneer" and “The Industry and Mines Observer”, an English fortnightly magazine published from Bhubneshwar. I was awarded the Trophy for "Excellence in Journalism" by noted Columnist Sri Shivaji Sarkar,in the presence of Editor in Chief -of The Pioneer,Dr Chandan Mitra ,Editor of The Industry and Mines Observer (IMO) Sri Sirish Mohanty on June19,2012.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
HOT CLIMATE HITS MAHUA FLOWER COLLECTION IN B’NGIR Monday, 18 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
HOT CLIMATE HITS MAHUA FLOWER COLLECTION IN B’NGIR
Monday, 18 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
Even as farmers of Balangir and western Odisha and KBK region are reeling under the impact of drought due to inadequate rainfall this year, their woes were further compounded due to decline in natural fall of Mahua flower, one of the major items of non timber forest produce (NTFP) which provides crucial livelihood support to millions rural poor.
Every year, Mahua flowers starts falling naturally by end of February and the process continues till April .The poor people go to the trees to collect the flower.
Later, after drying, they sell it. The flower provides them great economic support for around four months.
This year, due to inadequate rainfall, the paddy crop was lost. Almost all farmers suffered. Some farmers even committed suicide. However, the decline in Mohua flower collection this year has added to their troubles.
The decline has squeezed their livelihood support and hit the poor farmers hard.
The same situation was marked four years ago in 2012. The phenomenon is widely attributed to climate change factors like early arrival of summer in February and erratic rainfall and absence of fog in February.
Mahua flower develops well when the climate is cool in the morning. The flower absorbs much of cold and develops well. But this year the early arrival of summer disturbed the process. ‘We don’t experience Mahuliia Sita (February chill) anymore. All we are experiencing is hot temperature,’ said a local here.
Mahua flower is a gift of nature which starts falling by the end of February. However, this year first it has not developed properly and also the production has declined at least by 40 per cent, said a villager.
Worse, the number of Mahua trees is declining rapidly for many development activities like road construction and others in the district.
Moreover, there should also be a relook into provisions of panchayat issuing licence to the traders. As per the rules, a person by paying Rs100 can obtain licence to start trading of Mahua. The price fixation of procedure of Mahua flower is also not systematic. As per the rules, it is the panchyat samiti which fixes its price by end of October. However, in practice, it is nothing but a mere formality.
When there is no indication of arrival of fruits, how one can assess the production and fix its price. The price fixation meeting should be done by the end of January so that real price can be fixed.
According to sources, the purchasing price of Mahua officially differs from block to block as the rate is fixed by the respective panchyat samiti every year. In Bolangir district, the price of Mahua per kg is hovering between Rs15 and Rs25.
‘We demand the price of one kg of Mahul should be fixed at Rs50. We believe that from one kg of Mahul, two liters of liquor can be produced which can be sold in 20 small pouches, each costing rupees Rs10. Thereby one can earn Rs200. Hence, we demand the price of per kg of Mahua should be fixed at Rs50 so that poor families can get some money for their day long work,’ opined Zilla Adivasi Kalyan Sangha secretary Niranjan Bisi.
We submitted a memorandum in this regard to the district administration, Bisi clarified.
The panchyat should undertake a survey of number of Mahua trees and their production capacity. A Mahua tree, besides flower, gives Tol, which is its fruit. The fruit has also rich commercial value.