Not a cosmetic change, that! The fortunes of the inhabitants of this “aloe vera village” change after cultivation – The New Indian Express
JHARKHAND: Bhagmani Tirkey, her husband Birsa Oraon and other villagers in Deori hamlet, under the Nagri block of Ranchi, managed to survive by cultivating traditional crops in their fields. Then, after 2018, their income increased and changed their lives.
This happened after Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) selected Deori for aloe vera cultivation under the tribal sub-plan funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Experts wanted to know if they could help double the income of a few farmers with medicinal plants. This was unusual for the state, as most of the farmers practiced only one traditional crop in their fields.
The agro-climatic conditions of the region were quite suitable for aloe vera, and soon the plant began to give good yields to the chosen villagers. Encouraged, other villagers decided to start growing aloe vera.
Now Deori has become as famous as the “aloe vera village”. Here the plant grows almost everywhere – in backyards, vegetable gardens, flower pots, rooftops and in fields, which farmers had reserved all year round for growing rice.
âI started growing aloe vera about three years ago. After I started giving good yields, I planted more saplings on additional land and now earn three times as much, âsaid Birsa Oraon. The initial investment, compared to other crops, is also very low because after planting it once, we can get the regular product for the next four years, after 18 months of planting, he added. .
Oraon says the cultivation does not require any fertilizers or pesticides, with the exception of cow dung manure. Oraon’s wife, Bhagmani Tirkey, claims that unlike other traditional crops like cauliflower, tomato and peas, aloe vera does not require additional labor. “We only need a few hands to remove the weeds.” âThe only problem is irrigation in the summer,â Tirkey said. âIf we have proper irrigation facilities in the area, we can make even more money as the demand for aloe vera increases during the summers,â she said.
The demand for aloe vera is so high in the market that farmers are unable to meet it. During the peak of Covid, when all products saw a drop in demand, aloe vera was not affected due to its use in the manufacture of disinfectants, hand washing products, and skin strengthening. ‘immunity.
Village Mukhiya Manju Kacchap remembers how Dr Kausal Kumar from BAU approached her, expressing his willingness to implement the project in the village as part of the ICAR tribal sub-plan. She easily allowed it because she wanted the villagers to earn more. Head of Forest Products and Use Department at Birsa Agricultural University Faculty of Forestry in Ranchi, Dr Kaushal Kumar, says he chose Deori for the project because the tribal-dominated village was ready to adopt new techniques.
Kacchap said about 6,000 aloe vera saplings had been distributed to 35 women by BAU, but many were skeptical of the idea. Only a dozen of them took it back, while others planted it in their garden and flower pots. Very quickly, Kacchap recalled, they saw the benefits of switching to this new cash crop. This motivated other women to take up aloe vera planting as well. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made special mention of her and other villagers for the initiative, she said.