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Vol. No. 4 (2&3) April - September 1993

An Informal quarterly newsletter to document innovations produced by farmers, artisans and farm workers; generate debate around sustainable alternatives based on people's knowledge system among farmers, scientists, political leaders and social activists and lobby for protecting intellectual property rights of grassroots innovators.

Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Editor : Anil K Gupta Associate Editor: Kirit K Patel Editorial Assistance: Sumati K Sampemane A S Ready Jyoti Capoor Vijaya SHerry Chand Graphics & Design: A S Ready Aditi Desai South Asia News The Smallholder SAIIC Newsletter Avance Bulletin Space Graphic Composing: V B Computer Secretarial Assistance: R Baskaran P Mahadevan P V Sethumadhavan Active Members of Gujarat Network: Dr N K Kalyanasundaram Dr G S Judal Dr P R Patel Dr F S Kavani Dr M B Pande Dr G M Patel Dr P M Mane Dr M B Pande Dr D V Rangnekar Yogesh Trivedi Kamudchandra Thakkar Sudhir Jani Kapil Shah Oriya Editorial Address: Honey Bee Prof Anil KGupta C/o Indian Institute of Management Vastrapur, Ahmedabad - 380 015 India Tel: 91-272-407241, (R) 469079 Gram: INDINMAN Telex: 121-6351 IIMA IN Fax: 91-272-427896 email: [email protected] International Correspondent: Dr Frands Dolberg Novembervej 17, 8210 Aarthus V Denmark. Tel: + 45 86 152704 Fax: + 4586 139839 email: [email protected]

Collaborator for Regional Versions Hindi "Madhukosh" Dr S Upadhayay Professor Maharajsinh College Saharanpur - 247001


"Khedut Anubhav Vani" Dr B T Patel Associate Director of Extension Education Gujarat Agricultural University S K Nagar - 385 506 "Madhuchakra" Dr Subachi Rath M 5/8, Acharya Vihar Bhubneshwar, Orissa P Vivekanandan Sustainable Agriculture Environmental Voluntary Action (SEVA), 43, TPM Nagar Virattipathi, Madurai - 625 016 Jacob Mani Mannothra Advisory Officer-Rubber R & D Centre for Rubber United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) Union Club Road, Kottayam-686 001 Karma Ura & Norbu Wangchuck Planning Commission Royal Government of Bhutan Thimpu, Bhutan


"Nam Vazhi Velanmai"




"Dzongkha" Honey Bee

Collaborating Institutions

· Gujarat Agricultural University, Dr K Janakiraman, Director of Research, Sardar Krushinagar - 385 508. · Nootan Gram Vidyapith, At: Thava, Tal: Valia, Dist: Bharuch - 393 130. · Lok Bharati, At: Sanosara, Tal: Shihor, Dist: Bhavnagar,Pin: 364 230. · Shree J C Kumarappa Gram Vidyapith, At: Gadhada (Swaminarayan), Dist: Bhavnagar, Pin: 364 750. · Gram Vidyapith Shardagram, At: Shri Shardagram, Dist: Junagadh, Pin: 362 235. · Gram Bharti Gram Vidyapith, At: Amarapur, Tal: Kalol Dist: Mahesana, Pin: 382 721. · Mahila Gram Vidyapith, At: Nardipur, Tal: Kalol, Dist: Mahesana, Pin: 382 735. · Shree Sarswati Gram Vidyapith, At: Samoda-Ganwada, Tal: Siddhpur, Dist: Mahesana, Pin: 384 130. · Nootan Bharti, At: Madana-Gadh, Tal: Palanpur, Dist: Banaskantha, Pin: 385 519. · Sabar Gram Vidyapith, At: Sonasan, Tal: Prantij, Dist: Sabarkantha, Pin: 383 210. · Lok Niketan Vidyapith, At: Ratanpur, Tal: Palanpur, Dist: Banaskantha, Pin: 385 002. · Gram Seva Mahavidhyala, At: Dumiyni (Ashram), Dist: Rajkot, Pin: 360 440.

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993


Cover Story

A Chola king inTamil Nadu was known for his sense of fair play and social justice. He had hung a bell in a temple near his palace. Anybody who felt aggrieved by the actions of anyone could ring the bell and demand justice. The kind was obliged to respond to such a call. It was understood that one would ring such a bell as a last resort. One day, the bell rang. A lot of people came to see and were shocked to find a cow pulling the rope of the bell. Soon word reached the king that a very unusual complainant had come to express her complaint. The king came quickly and was surprised himself. He asked people to give way and just stood still for a while. The cow had noticed him. She came down and started walking. The king followed her. Soon they reached a lace where a bullock was lying dead. The king understood the entire story. He recognized the chariot with which the bullock had met with an accident and died. The chariot belonged to his won. The king asked his son to lie down on the ground and ordered the chariot to run over him and kill him just the way bullock had been killed.

Such is the tale of justice, not just for human beings but even for non-human sentient beings. Contrast this with the norms that we have today for poor disadvantaged people. How do we revive the respect for the rights of other beings ?

Newsletter based on creativity and experimentation of people at grassroots


Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Spirit of Sustainability

Given the worldwide concern over the issue of sustainability. It is natural that people at the grassroots level would like to relate this concern to some indicators of change in their lives. For instance, when energy is scarce, people in disadvantaged regions such as drought-prone and floodprone regions, hill or forest regions expect that their conservation of resources will be supported by external induction of energy or substitution of local wood-base biomass withkerosene or other sources. Nosuch sign is viable. The lifestyles of those who have access to abundant resources is also not changing within and across the nations. The world-view of sustainability among the communities which conserve biodiversity is also changing. They notice that urban and rural consumers with the purchasing power want standardized goods i.e. fruits, vegetables, grains and other products of uniform colour taste, shape, size, smell etc. The demand for biodiverse products is declining drastically thanks to the media and to state policies. Even the NGOs and the activists who are supposed to be concerned have not reacted. Without consumer support, will conservation of biodiversity by the communities and individuals deprived of even their basic needs be possible? Given the low literacy rates of six to 10 per cent in many of the trial and forest regions, or 15 to 25 per cent in drought-prone regions, we must assume either that these people are not interested in education, or that the kind of education which isbeing provided is not relevant to their day-to-day survival. It's also likely that besides irrelevance, poor infrastructure and survival compulsions contribute to low literacy.

The net result : migrants from these regions constitute the bulk of the poorest and lmost exploited urban slum dwellers performing the most menial and unsafe tasks. If migrants from the high-biodiversity regions have to occupy the most demeaning niches in urban and semi-urban labour markets, the feedback is bound to be adverse. The bonding of local communities with nature and its biodiversity cannot remain strong in such a situation. We met Karimbhai, a potter by profession, in Virampur village of Banaskantha District in Gujarat. He also happens to be an extraordinary source of local botanical and medicinal knowledge. He provides the benefit of his knowledge, without any change, to anyone who asks for it. His ethical values imply that such knowledge must not be used for profit. Obviously, he does not even care whether the seeker uses such knowledge for profit or not. The challenge is to use the concept of IPRs in such a manner that local communities can continue to benefit from his knowledge of plants of the nearby forests while, at the same time, the rest of the world can also benefit, but at a reasonable price. The fact that the forests have been conserved with the help of the local community and that of the Forest Department implies that all the gains from the potential commercialization of this

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993


knowledge may not have to accure to Karimbhai alone. At the same time, none except he in the entire neighbourhood, can identify and use so many plants. The algorithm by which the benefits need to be shared between Karimbhai and the rest of the community, we trust, can be evolved by the local community and networks of innovators with SRISTI acting as a watchdog of Karimbhai's treasure. The debate of intellectual property rights has unfolded yet another tale of declining biodiversity, increasing deprivation and a lack of comprehension by many conservation organizations. On the one hand, many environmental activists the world over oppose modification in the patent regime in developing countries so that locally selected and improvised selections from germplasm can be patented. On the other hand, the same activists also wish that companies and western institutions which invest billions of dollars in research and product development should provide their technology without any cost to the developing countries. Articles 15, 19 and 21 of the biodiversity convention provide a precise agenda for re-thinking. While national sovereignty over the biodiverse gene pools had been conceded in the Biodiversity Convention (notwithstanding the interpretative statements of the US and other governments), the extension of these rights to local communities and individuals among them performing specific experiments has not been pursued. Many groups opposing the Dunkel draft treaty have missed the whole issue. They have succeeded in convincing several farmers' organizations that patenting would prevent farmers from using their own seeds. They have not clarified that for such a situation to emerge, we will have to assume that all existing varieties, including those of self-pollinated crops, would be superseded by the varieties developed by the multinational cororations. Further, we also have to assume that farmers have no consumer power and that they cannot create pressures on the companies by boycotting, as consumers, any product that they do not like. What is striking is the fact that most farmers' organizations agitating against the patent regime are the ones whose constituents are predominantly from irrigated, well-endowed and low-biodiversity regions. At a recent meeting of farm leaders and activists called to articulate the position of biodiversity conserving communities, with the exception of just one person from Rajasthan, I found no representative of farmers or tribals from high-biodiversity regions. SRISTI and the Honey Bee network are clear on this issue. If there were no patent rights anywhere at all in the world, we would certainly be against patenting life forms or plant breeders' rights as provided in the plant variety protection agreements. But since such protection exists in developed countries, how can we argue that the contemporary as well as traditional contributions of developing countries and their most-disadvantaged communities not be protected or compensated? The concept of farmers' rights, which merely articulates transfer of resources for conservation and research from developed to developing countries is not sufficient. In any case there is no guarantee that resources meant for disadvantaged communities will reach them. What might happen is that existing developmental resources may be budgeted under the newe budgetary head without providing any rationality. In the process, because money is fungible, even these resources would flow back to developed low-diversity regions. We have thus argued for three courses of action which are open to those lobbying for or against patent rights of third world biodiversity conserving communities and individuals: First, is there a relation between the extent of biodiversity and occurrence of poverty? If so, how do we generate a sense of responsibility among the affluent or better-endowed rural producers whose affluence essentially emerges as a result

Newsletter based on creativity and experimentation of people at grassroots


Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

of the decline of biodiversity and spread of high yielding varieties. Second, can biodiversity be conserved by the local communities without respecting the local ecological knowledge systems and without generating consumer demand for biodiverse products in rural as well as urban areas? If not, what should be the concrete steps that varies environmental groups and activists should take to change consumer preference? Such a change will obviously clash with the interest of large multinational or national corporations whose operations serve to standardize consumer tastes and preferences and thereby contribute to the erosion of biodiversity and natural wealth. Third, if we oppose the patent regime, are we saying that asymmetry in the nature of intellectual property rights and the consequent commercial opportunities in the developing countries is also acceptable? Since the concern for the poor is not expressed any differently by the national or the multinational natural product-using companies or institutions, should we abandon the struggle for protection of property rights of economically poor but gene and knowledge-rich communities and individuals in developing countries? I hope that these questions, unlike many in the past, will not be ignored. I also hope that UNEP, which recently organized an informal consultation on the subject (report in next issue), the Committee on Plant Genetic Resources (CPGR) of FAO, GATT negotiators and Third World activists and the government would seriously address these issues. The continued neglect by the state, international organizations and even the NGOs and activists of the rights of disadvantaged communities might push the latter towards militancy. Already there are signals of such trends already emerging in different parts of the world. Once these signals intensify, the role of reason, persuasion and the non-violent creed of Gandhiji may be beyond our reach. We hope that the cause of genetic diversity and rights of farmers who suffer because of declining value of conserving diversity in disadvantaged regions would be pursued in true Gandhian spirit. We have to invent new instruments of struggle for patent rights or for restriction of unrestricted access of western companies to the gene banks controlled by international centres of agricultural research. We invite readers to join with us and use columns of Honey Bee Newsletters to pursue this debate in the best democratic and intellectual tradition. Anil K Gupta

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993


Scientist's Comments on Farmers Practices

Dr. W B Rahudkar has sent his reactions/explanations on various practices entioned in previous issues. His comments are cited with corresponding original code number of the practice. The first digit of the code indicates the volume number while the second digit indicates the issue number. The last two digits denote the serial number of the practice. We welcome readers, to react to the reactions of scientists. To make this column more accessible, we request you to quote the specific code number of the practice in your letter. 3301 Green, Manuring with Cassia Tora Locally called `tarota', Cassia tora grows wild by roadsides in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. People believe that it has some medicinal value and use its seedling as a vegetable. Farmers uproot these plants before fruiting and use them for composting. 3102.1 Control of striga in sorghum by mixing seeds of Anethum graveolens Farmers of the Wardha district in Maharashtra mix seed of coriander (locally knonw as `dhane') instead of Anethum graveolens I the sorghum seed before sowing. Due to the mixing of cropsstriga (a parasitic weed) is completely controlled. 3203.1 Broadcasting seedling of Eleusine Coracana In the Mahabaleshwar area, Maharashtra, hills become slippery duringthe monsoon. Hence, while broadcasting `nagli' (Eleusine coracana) seeds, farmers tie one end of a rope to a nearby tree and the other end around the waist. The farmers simply throw sprouted seeds of `nagli' on the sloping fields. The roots immediately stick to the ground and grow vigorously. 3205.1 Control of Pod-Borer in Pigeon Pea Shri Kalyan Bhausaheb Laghane of Aurangabad in Maharashtra had prepared a botanical insecticide in his home last year to control the pod-borers of the pigeon pea. He crushed half a kilo of cloves of garlic in kerosene and left it overnight. Next morning, he filtered the extract through a cotton cloth. Then he prepared a filtered solution of 50g of crushed green chillies in one litre of water. A third liquid was 100 g of the detergent Nirma (please see comments by Pankaj Joshi in HB Vol. 4(4):5) dissolved in a sufficient quantity of water. He mixed the three solutions - 25 ml of the mixture in 16 litres water and sprayed it on the crop. The spraying was done in the morning. Two days later, he says, he could not find a single living larva on his crop. After having seen this fascinating effect on pigeon pea pests, he used the same mixture on cotto for boll-worm control and found the same insecticidal effect. He had previously sprayed Endosulphan and Monocrotophos on his pigeon pea crop, but they had no effect on the pest. He even dropped a larva in undiluted Monocrotophos and found that it was not killed. But when he dropped the larvae in his herbal portion it was killed. This practice was published in local newspaper by Dr. Radhudkar. The farmers who have adopted this practice have confirmed the efficacy of this insecticide in controlling insect pests

of pigeon pea and cotton and also the aphids on safflower. Flying insects are not killed by this insecticide, though they are repelled from the treated crop. The scientific explanation for the efficacy of this botanical insecticide is simple. The garlic has a volatile oil (which contains sulphur) which dissolves in kerosene and not in water. When the insecticide is sprayed on the crop in the morning, this volatile oil produces vapour with the rising day-time temperature. Unhindered, the vapour reaches the hidden insects and kills them. With the chemical insecticides they are killed only if they come in contact with the poison. Green chilli contains capsaisin, a chemical which is very pungent and irritates the skin. When the extract of chilli falls on the body of the larvae, it immediately kills them. This insecticide, with its two-pronged effect on the pests, can be effective on a wide range of pests of various crops. The addition of detergent helps in the spread of the insecticide as well as

Dr Rahudkar is former Dean and Faculty of M P Krishi Vidhyapith, Rahuri. He can be contacted at 25/356, Lokmanyanagar, Pune - 411 030, Maharashtra, India

Newsletter based on creativity and experimentation of people at grassroots


Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

in its adherence to the crop. While using this insecticide, one has to take care that it does not fall on the skin or into the eyes. If it does, one should immediately wash it off with clean water. 3203.2(b) Control of beetles by crushing leaves of Combretum ovalifolium and the insect A similar method has been used by a farmer, Shri Madhavarao Shankar Rao Patil in Village Pimpalagam Hareshwar, Chopde Taluk, Jalgaon District, Maharashtra. Here the weed used in place of Combretum avalifolium is called `gindhyan' or `gandhari' or `kidmar' (the last name_literally means that which kills insectpest), grows in black cotton soil and also in the Konkan region and

the western Ghats during the `kharif' season. Its scientific name is Aristolochia bracteata. Its leaves are 3 to 7 cm long, uniform and cordate, and have wide veins. Bluish flowers with resolute margin appear in October-November. The fruit is a capsule, 1 to 2 cm long. The seed is deltoid with cordate base. The pant contains volatile substances and an alkaloid called aristolochine. It has several other medicinal uses. Patil says that when the leaves of this plant are crushed on the palms of the hands and the person moves in the field of Bajra, the `sosehinge' (beetles) are driven away from the crop; that is, the crushed plants have a repellent action against these beetles. allowed to come in contact with anything made of iron. Should this happen, it has been found, the cucumbers subsequently turn bitter. 5. Storing of Green Vegetables

Innovations from the Hills of Bhutan

L. Sharma

1. Castration Pigeon dropping is powdered and fed to sterile cows to induce heat. The animals have been found to respond after three or four doses in as many months. 3. Control of Parasites Intestinal

After castration of animals, people rub turmeric powder mixed with mustard oil on the wound. This helps to reduce the temperature caused because of the hammer impact. It also serves as an antiseptic application and helps to heal the wound faster. 2. (a) Enhancing Pubeerty Common Salt

Salt is given to domestic animals during ovulation to increase heat. Once the animal has been inseminated, salt is restricted for about three weeks to prevent abortion. (b) Pigeon Droppings

A small quantity of curds and butter-milk are kept overnight in copper container. The mixture which turns blue-green is diluted and given to young calves for deworming. The worms start to come out in the feces the next day. The presence of intestinal worms in the calves is deduced from the foul smell emanating from the mouth. 4. Quality of Cucumber Fruit The cucumber plant is not

A pit, the size of which will depend on the quantity of the surplus green vegetables and radish to be stored, is dug in the ground and warmed by burning twigs in it. The radish is then smashed. Alternate layers of radish and green vegetables are filled in the pit, all voids are filled by pouring warm water and the vegetables compressed by the pressure of stamping feet. Once full, the pit is made air-tight by covering it with soil and hay.The vegetables are allowed to ferment for about three weeks and then taken out and dried. Vegetables treated in this way can be stored for over a year under ordinary conditions to supplement the requirements in lean seasons.

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993


Dharma Shastra and Environment

Dr. G V Tagare

The importance of tree-planting from the environmental point of view is now recognised all over the world. Here we list trees recommended for planting by religious texts and highlight the fact that the importance of tree-planting was emphasised in ancient India. `Dharma' permeated the entire life of ancient Indians. They were deeply religious and believed in life after death. So, those acts which were conducive to the happiness of departed ancestors or to their own well-being in life after death were faithfully performed. Taking advantae of this, ancient sages motivated them to perform some acts of public utility and declared that all people (including `shudras'!) were eligible to perform these religious acts called the "Poorta Dharma". To give these acts a more dignified status, they included them under `dana'. The word has no beggarly implication as in the Englis word "charity", I quote a few Dharma Shastra texts to show how the sages emphasized this Poorta Dharma. 1. The Skandha Purana 2. The Mahabharata

"Tree-planting is productive for religious merits in the next world. The treeplanter gets `moksha' for his deceased ancestors as well as for his descendants. A man should, therefore, plant trees". (Quoted by Hemadri p 1030). 3. The Vishnu Purana

"Trees gladden gods by their blossom; guests by their fruits; and the travellers by their shade". These short quotations show how ancient sages motivated tree planting through the use of religion. The list of trees recommended for planting depended upon the geographical location of the texts and the traditions followed by the people. The Mahabharata recommends a group of trees: `ashwattha', `neem', `vata' (Banyan tree), `tamarind', `kapittha' (wood-apple tree), `bilva' and `amalaki' (Emblic myrobalan). The Varaha Purana also recommends `ashwattha', `neem', `banyan', `jati' (Jasmine plant), pomegranates, sweetlime, etc. Varahamihira who belonged to Ujjain, Malwa, and lived in the early part of the 6th Century AD, recommended a number of trees to be planted on the banks of tanks and

"One who plants by the roadside a tree which produces shade, flowers and fruits frees his ancestors from sin" (Quoted by Hemadri, Chaturvaraga Chintamani, p.1033).

rivers. But, according to him, the `neem', `ashoka', `shirisha' and `priyanga' trees are auspicious and should be planted both in the gardens and near houses. He quotes sage Kashyapa of 5th Century AD, an authority in his time, who highlighted the importance of planting `champka', `udumbara' (fig tree) and `parijata'. This indicates that the sages did not stop with vague assertions about the merits of planting trees but also recommended specific lists of trees worth planting. They have given guidelines about the preparation of soil, fertilization, distance to be maintained between the trees, grafting of trees, the seasons in which particular graftings are desirable and astrologically the favourable `nakshatras'1. (Counstellations) for planting.



The period of constellation is decided by the astrologer of the society who keeps their eyes on the planetary movements. The period of various constellation in relation to English calendar is given here, for the rainy season, 1990. `Rohini' : 25th May-7th June `Magha' : 16th August - 29th August `Mrugshirsh : 8th June-21st June `Purva' : 30th August - 12th August `Adra' : 22nd June - 5th July `Uttara' : 13th September-26th September `Punarvasu' : 6th July-18th July `Hasta' : 27th September-9th October `Pashya': 19th July - 1st August `Chitra' : 10th October-23rd October `Ashlesha' : 2nd August - 15th August `Swati' : 24th October-5th November

Newsletter based on creativity and experimentation of people at grassroots


Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Indigenous Technologies for Dyeing

Ms Choeki Ongmo

Bhutan has a rich cultural history. Its long isolation has resulted in extremely high percentage of artisans as compared to its neighbouring countries. Even today, weaving is the most widespread craft of Bhutan. Weaving is the sole economic activity of many households and hence is of great socio-economic significance. This craft represents a rich cultural heritage of the people. It has been passed from mother to daughter over the generations by word of mouth. Bhutanese have proudly kept alive the indigenous technique of weaving with little or no change. Indigo spp around their house. Locally it is known as `yang shaba'. There are two ways of preparing the indigo dye. In Radhi, Tashingag, the leaves are picked in June/July. About fifteen minutes after the picking, they are beaten into a pulp. An equal amount of fine particles of ash of wood is aded to the mashed leaves and thoroughly mixed. The mixture is then

beaten into pulp and soaked in ash solution. Here they due directly from the fresh leaves. But it gives a dull finish. For best effects, dried indigo leaves are recommended. To bring out the colour, the decomposed dried leaves have to be soaked first in ash solution. The proportion should be five litres of ash solution for one kg of yarn. Indigo is used for dying all shades of green, blue, purple and black. 2. Turmeric

The roots of turmeric plant have to be dried in the shade b e c a u s e direct sun rays dim the

Ms Choeki Ongama is National United Nations Volunteer (NUNV) in Bhutan since April 1993. Earlier she was an official of the National Women Association of Bhutan at Khaling Weaving Centre, Khaling, Eastern Bhutan Could we get either the sample of plants of their scientific names for better appreciation of the e x c e l l e n t information provided in the text? :Ed.)

However, over the centuries, designs, colours and quality have been altered to suit the new demands. Several indigenous techniques of dye making and processing are presented here. In April 1993, a Programme for Artisan Development in South Asia (PADSA) was launched in four countries. Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka to study the evolution and socio-economic importance of weaving and the constraints faced by artisans. Main Ingredients 1. Indigo Many Bhutanese dyers plant

packed in a n airtight container and left to decompose. Most people in Radhi use plastic bags. It takes three to four days in summer and about a week in winter for the decomposition to be complete. When the mix gives off a foul smell it has to be taken out from the container and rolled into small balls and dried in the sun. These balls can be stored for as long as one wants. In Pema Gatshel fresh leaves of the indigo are picked,

dye's lustre. The root is sliced, and when it is fully dried it is pounded into powder. The outer part of the root gives a dirty yellow colour which is used for making light green while inner portion of root gives a bright yellow. 3. Lac

This is prepared from the dried bodies of an insect which is a parasite on many plant species. It is found wild in Bhutan, Burma,

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993


India and Tibet. To make the dye, the insects are collected off the twigs of the host plant, broken up and added to hot water to extract the dye matter. Lac is used to get maroon and deep red colour. Six kg of lac are used to weave a `mentsematha kira' (local unit for measuring yarn). The price of 1 kg lac is about 25 Nu. (Rs. 25/-). 4. `Zim Shaba' A wild tree of Bhutan, it is found in high altitudes. This plant is used to add lustre to the dye and as a mordant for every colour. It cannot, however, be stored in either liquid or solid form. For best effect, it has to be used soon after the leaves have been plucked. The longer you dye stuff in this mordant, the better is its effect. 5. Sour Fruit

for this purpose. 2. Red

Well-degummed yarn is boiled in `zim' for half-an-hour. (The pot must be large enough to accommodate both the `zim' leaves and the yarn). The yarn is then taken out and kept in the open air for 24 hours. The dried yarn is then dipped in a solution of turmeric powder which gives yellow colour. It is dried again in the open air and is finally soaked in a mixed solution of lac and turmeric and a red powder for 2-3 days. The resulting colour is bright red. 3. Maroon red

water and the solution is left to stand for two to three days till the surface becomes greasy. A blue chemical colour is added to the solution and stirred. The welldegummed yarn is then soaked in the due bath till it gets the desired colour. 7. Dark Green

The yarn is soaked in the Indigo solution for two days. Then it is taken out of the dye bath and cooked in turmeric solution. Two chemical colours, light green and pink are added. The yarn is kept in the dye bath for 2 to 3 days. If the desired colour is not obtained, the process is repeated. 8. Bright Green

There are three different kinds of sour fruit (`khomang', `chursey', and `robtang sey') which are commonly used as fixing agents. These fruit trees grow wild and are easily available. The proportion used is two teaspoons extract for one kg of yarn For preparing the extract, the fruit is fully cooked in water. The strained liquor is used as the dye bath. However in Radhi some dyers use diluted hydrochloric acid (Hcl) for the same purpose. Recipes for Different Colours: 1. Pink is also made out of the lac solution and sour fruit which is used as a fixing agent. The dye bath is prepared half an hour before use. The welldegummed yarn is then immersed in the dye hbath and boiled for four and an half hours maintaining the temperature constant all the while. It is then allowed to cool gradually. The dyed yarn is then soaked in a starch solution. The dyers of Radhi uses maize powder

The degummed yarn is immersed in a dye bath of lac solution and `zim' leaves. It is heated for two hours, and allowed to cool gradually. The yarn is left in the solution fir 48 hours. 4. People

The degummed yarn is dipped in indigo and turmeric solution and boiled for two hours and allowed to stand in the dye bath for 2 to 3 days. 9. Black

To get this colour, first the yarn will have to be dyed maroon and then boiled in indigo solution for an hour. After cooling, it is washed thoroughly with clean water and dried in open air. Finally it is soaked in a purple solution prepared from a chemical dye. 5. Yellow

The yarn is boiled in `zim' solution for half an hour and turmeric powder is added to the dye bath in a ratio of three teaspoons of turmeric powder to five hanks of yarn. The temperature is raised for two hours and the yarn is left in the dye bath for 48 hours during summer; in winter the final soaking is for a longer period. 6. Blue Indigo is soaked in warm

The degummed yarn has to be cooked in indigo for two hours and allowed to cool gradually. A green chemical dye and a fixing agent (any sour fruit) are then added to it. The yarn is left in the dye for three days both to soak in the colour. Then it is rinsed well in clean water. To get a deep black, the dyed yarn is again soaked in indigo in warm water for a day or two.

Newsletter based on creativity and experimentation of people at grassroots


Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Thriving Indigenous Knowledge in Tamil Nadu

K Kanagasabapathi

Indigenous practices play a vital role in sustainable agriculture. Certain practices, shatter the belief that recommendations made by agricultural scientists are always superior. 1. Indigenous Practices in Grain Storage a) Control of Pests in Stored Paddy i) To prevent the attack of pests in stored paddy grains, a plant `kanjanamkorai', is kept along with the grains. It emanates a pungent smell which drives away the pests. ii) `Neem' leaves are placed over stored grains to keep the grains pest-free. b) Indigenous Mudpot (`Kudhir') Large mud-pots a high as 180 cm are used for storing paddy grains for long periods. These are made of clay and paddy straw and the air-tight. Paddy stored inside such a bin does not absorb moisture from air (Similar bins have been in vogue in Gujarat and other parts of the country : Ed.) 2. Dogs Saving Coconuts from Tree

To prevent tree dogs from damaging coconuts, a picture of a snake is drawn on the lower portion of the trunks of coconut trees. Tree dogs (`palm civet') climb up the tree and drink the coconut water damaging the fruit. Obviously, these nocturnal animals mistake the figure fora real snake! 3. Rat Control

Four to five dead rats are buried in paddy fields in as many places in every acre of land. It is believed that the smell emanating from the dead rats scare away their living comrades. In fields where sheep penning is done for increaing the nutrients in the soil, rats are not seen at all. Rats find the odour of soaked rice delightful and so such rice is used as bait in place of raw rice. 4. Green Manures: If the green leaf manure `adathoda' is used, a quick greening of leaves of the crops can be sen just as with the application of artificial fertilizers. 5. Termite Control

The following are the commonly used green leaf manures: `Calotropis' Calotropis gigantia `nuna' Morinda tinctoria `portia' Thespesia populnea `kattamani' Jatropha gossypifolia Ipomoea spp and `adathoda'

To eradicate the termites on lower portion of the trunk of coconut trees, tar is applied on it up to 30 cm height from ground level. In some places, the coconut garden is flooded with water so that the termites are washed off. 6. `Kottam' : Indigenous Seed Soaking Treatment for Paddy The germination and uniform sprouting of seeds of paddy seeds can be enhanced by

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this treatment. Approximately 15 kg of seeds are used for one `kottam'. A mat of paddy straw is placed over a bamboo or steel trough of 30 to 45 cm diameter and two feet in heigt and well compacted. Below this container, straw ropes are placed in a crisiscross manner (Fig.1). The seeds are put into the container (Fig. 2) covered by straw and the straw ropes are tied tightly (Fig.3). The whole unit is then pulled out from the trough. The unit is called `kottam'.

Approximately 20 litres of water are sprinkled over the `kottam' and it is left in the corner of the house in shade for nearly 24 hours. The next day, the `kottam' is carried to the field for sowing. What happens in the process is that the seeds remain wet; the water, however, is completely drained and so there is less chance of decay. Because the seeds are covered by straw there is a better circulation of air which enhances sprouting and because they are kept tight in `kottam', the heat generated hastens the germination.


Weed Control

To control the weed Marshilia quadrifolia the following practices are followed: Use of Calotropis (Calotropis gigantea) as green manure checks the growth of the weed. Ten baskets of the fibrous pericarp of coconut are applied for one acre of paddy field to control this weed; it releases some tannin-like substance that inhibits the weed.

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Innovations from the Deserts of Rajasthan

U M Lodha

1. Biological Control of Termite 2. Soil Preparation There are many small and big tanks in Udaipur, Rajasthan constructed 200 to 300 years ago. These were meant for irrigation and for providing drinking water to cattle. During summer (MayJune) most of them are dry. A large quantity of silt and organic matter drawn from their catchment are aduring rainy season lies deposited at the bottom of these tanks. Farmers collect this enriched silt from the dried reservoir beds and broadcast it in their fields. This practice is beneficial in the many ways: a) it improves structure of soil and humus content; b) it has a fair proportion of major plant nutrients; c) when large quantities are used in alkaline soils, the salinity is reduced This is a very old practice; locally the soil is called `pana'. The desilting of the tanks increases their water holding capacity and also provides clean water to the cattle. This practice must, therefore, be encouraged by providing cheap silt transport facilities. 3. Risk Reducing Cropping Pattern Rainfall is very uncertain and erratic in the Udaipur region of

There is a practice of attracting the common ants to termite mounds using flour and sugar. It is believed that the ants act as a biological control against termites. Farmers feel that by providing food they can induce the ant-hill (nest) to stay on at a place in the field. I have personally observed that eggs of termites were deposited near the ant-hill of the common ant. If a particular white ant is too heavy to manage, two to three common ants join to pull it into their home. On close observation, it also appears that the eggs, larvae, or even the caterpillars of the flying insects found on the trees, vines and shurbs etc., are removed by ants in the same way. Farmers never kill the ants and avoid walking on ant-hills. They also prevent their cattle from disturbing the ant hills. Only one species of red ants is harmful as it bores hole in the trees. I have never seen farmers keeping food for red ants at their nests.

Rajasthan and so farmers have evolved a cropping pattern to reduce the risks associated with low rainfall. Paddy needs more fainfall than maize. Farmers dibble the seeds of maize in one line while in another two or three they sow paddy seeds or seedlings. Towards the end of July, they make an assessment of the pattern and the quantum of rain and accordingly retain one of the two crops. In some areas farmers follow a similar practice with kidney bean and green gram. This practice has been in existence for many decades. 4. Checking Disease and Pests in Mango Farmers apply oil to the stem and root of the mango tree in the bearing stage. It is a common belief that this practice prevents attacks by fungus and the common mango hopper pest. However, this practice is now becoming rare because of the rising price of oil.

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Control of Milk Fever in Cattle

P R Patel, F S Kavani, K M Jadhav and R M Patel

Milk fever or hypocalcemia is a condition of cattle and buffalo that generally occurs after calving. The animal becomes cold, weak and anorexic (does not eat food or drink water) and is unable to get up. The colostrum (first milk after parturition) contains high level of calcium. The complete withdrawal of colostrum from the udder drains the calcium from the body of the animal, lkeading to a state of decreased calcium level of blood, called "hypocalcemia", locallly called milk fever and technically called "parturient paresis". Farmers' Practices to Control or Prevent the Milk Fever 1. The usual practice is to provide warmth to the animal by making a fire near the animal and covering the animal with gunny bags. Further, the animal shed is covered from the sides to protect it from adverse weather such as excessive chill and forceful winds. Physical protection and provision of warmth reduces stress on the animal and helps in increasing the temperature of the body. This helps in maintaining the psychological and biochemical processes at a normal rate. Warmth also assists in the recovery and, wish specific treatment, in prevention of disease as well. 2. When the animal becomes weak or sick during calving period, it is forced to walk slowly. The purpose is to give the animal a light form of exercise. It increases the flow of blood to the leg muscles and activates them, thus decreasing the

Authors can be contacted at Veterinary College, Gujarat Agricultural University, Sardar Krushinagar - 385 506 Inid

severity of disease. It reduces to some externt the complication of inability of animal to get up. 3. During or before calving period, the animals are fed with nutritious and laxative diet such as boiled bajra, jaggery, edible oil, ghee (clarified butter), and sometimes even eggs. This nutritious food is a rich source of energy and strengthens the animals. In some places there is practice of feeding `suva' (Anethum graveolens) seeds, `methi' (fenugreek) seeds and `kalijiri' to maintain sppetite of the animals. This also helps in the prevention of weakness. Anorexic animals are usually fed a mixture of salt, turmeric, `sunth' (ginger), `jira' (cumin), asafoetida, `ajvan', `kalimirch' (black pepper) etc. These ingredients are carminative and also help in building up an appetite and in expelling gases from rumen (stomach). This practice is recommended in milk anorexia. 4. To prevent milk fever at the time of parturition, half milking is practiced for one or two days after calving. Partial milking means removal of about half milk from the udder so that the rest is retained in the udder unmilked. This way calcium is retained in the body. The above practices help in quick recovery and prevention of further complications, but they work well only in very mild forms of the disease. A veterinarian must be consulted in severe cases for effective recovery. Scientifically specific and more effective drugs for this disease are available. Intravenous injection of calcium, the specific treatment, overcomes hypocalcemia completely within 10-15 minutes of the injection.

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Proverbs related to Dryland Agriculture

R S Dhukia and N S Verma

Farmers have developed different practices for dryland agriculture, based on observation and experience. Farming communities have coined various proverbs, sayings and couplets to communicate their findings on processes such as onset of monsoon, soil preparation, time and method of sowing, seed rate, cropping sequence, time of weeding, manuring, disease and pest management, stage of harvesting, choice of varieties of crop etc. To convey the message orally and effectively, agricultural operations are correlated with location-specific events of nature like sunshine, direction and velocity of wind, lightning and rains, rainbows, lunar cycle, birds and their behaviour, location of specific planets, colour and type of soil etc. Unfortunately, few scholars have tried to document and understand these proverbs in the context of on-going agriculture. (Readers may appreciate that many of these proverbs may not be relevant today because of changes in climate or soil. At the same time, some may still retain their relevance. The challenge is to subject the proverbs and couplets to careful scientific scrutiny identify the workable ones and to modify or reject the rest. Dr. Kanani and his colleague are doing research on rain prospecting based on ancient berliefs collected through scanning of literature at the Gujarat Agricultural University, Junagadh (Please see HB Vol. 4(1):4-5 : Ed). During our various visits to villages in Haryana, we have collected various folk sayings and proverbs along with their meaning and importance in the community and have published them in local language in daily newspaper for farmers. Some of them are presented along with other proverbs scanned from old books and literature. 1. Predicting Effect of Monsoon "Baisakhi Sudi Partham Din Badal Biju Karai, Dam Bina Bisaihja Puri Sakh Bharai" If in the month of `baisakh' (AprilMay) there are clouds followed by thunder on the very first day, there will bea bumper `kharif' (monsoon) crop. Food will be plentiful. "Jeth Biti Pahli Parwah, Jo Amber Dharhare Asadh Savan Jai Koro Bhardo Birkha" If there are thundering clouds in the sky on the first day after the month of `jeth'(May), there will be no rains in the month of `asadh' and `shravan' (July and August) and there will be rains only in the month of `bhado' (September). 2. Moisture Conservation and Field Preparation "Chhoti Nasi Dharti Hansi Hal Dagga Patal to tut gaya akal" Deep ploughing is a must for moisture conservation and overcoming water stress in the cropping season. "Maina Bandh Hal Joten Dai,

Das Man Bigha Mose Le" Bunds around the field and ploghing after every shower in the pre-sowing season will conserve enough moisture for the crop, remove the weeds and ensure bumper crops (at least 20 q/ha.) "Jab Barse Tab Badhon Kyari, Bada Kisan to Hath Kudari" "Kachha Khet Ne Jote Koi, Nahi Beej Na Ankur Hoi" "Maidei Gahu Dhela Chana" "Jab Sasil Khata-khat Baje, Tab Channa Bahut Hi Gaje" These proverbs refer to the proper field conditions for ploughing to ensure adequate germination. Moreover, there should be cloddy field preparation for gram (chickpea) and better field preparation for wheat with many ploughings so that the soil particles are as fine as wheat flour. The last proverb indicates the condition of the field at the time of sowing of chickpea; it says that if the oxen yoke is very noisy while ploughing, production will be high.

Authors are working as Associate Professor at CCS, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar 125004, Haryana, India.

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Sowing Time "Jo Koi Aghan Bove Jawa, Hoi hoi nahin, khave Kowa"

"Khad Pare to Khet Nahin to Kura Ret" "Kheti Kare Khad Se Bhare So man Kuthala mein le dhare" "Khad kura na tare Karam likha tar jai". There are chances that luck will deceive the farmer, but the addition of manure after rainfall will never deceive him (luck). "Gobar Malia Pani Sade Tab Kheti Me Dada Pade" gobar Malia Neem Ki Kha Yase Kheti Dooni" Composite manure raises the yield, but neem doubles it. 7. Crop Rotation "Badi Me Badi Kane, Kare ikh Me ikh Ve Ghar hi Jayenge Sune Parai Sukh"

there will be an attack of rust disease in the crop. If sorghum is sown in July, it will be prone to attach by shootfly. 9. Time of Harvesting Harvest chickpea before full maturity, barley after full maturity, and harvest wheat when mature earheads are droopy. There are thousands of proverbs/ coulets representing all aspects of rainfed agriculture technology. Only a few of them have been mentioned above. All these hold good under scientific scrutiny as they find support from experimental evidence and recommended packages of practices for various rainfed crops. References

Dutt, Gayatary; 1989. "Rojmara Kei iwan Mein Mosam Vigyan" Jansatta Daily, June 22, 1989. Khatana V S; 1989. "Haryanavi Kahawato Se Barish Ka Purvanuman Hota Hai". Jansatta Daily, April 4, 1989; May 23, 1989; October 2, 1990; and November 6, 1990. Jyotirmay; 1989. "Parkarti Sei Jur Jer Jani thi Rituain". Jansatta Daily, June 22, 1989. Parbakar, Devi Shankar; 1984. "Haryana: Lok Kathaon Tatha Kahawate". Published by Laxmi Pushtak Sadan, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi (Ist ed.): 111-118. Tripathi R N; 1952. "Gram Sahity (Part III). Published by Atma Ram and Sons, Delhi, pp. 15-76 and 106-137. Vishard and R L Pandey; 1983. "Ghagh Bhadri Ki Kahawatein". Published by Thakur Prashad Pustak Bhandar, Varanasi, pp. 20-130.

If barley is sown in November, there is no hope at all of a crop. "Savan Savain Aghan Java, Jitna Bove Utna Lave" Produce from small millets sown in July and barley sown in November will not even equal the seed. "Jab Bor Barothe Aye, Tab Rabi ki Ho Buwai" When an insect called `bor' starts swarming, it is the right time for the sowing of `rabi' (winter) crops. 4. Sowing Method, Seed Rate, Spacing and Sowing Depth "Pora Badshah, Kera Wazir aur Chinta Faqir" "Pag-pag per bajra Medak Kudni Jowar Aise Bove Jo Koi Ghar Ka Bhare Bhandar" This proverb indicates the importance of spacing and density of crops. If a farmer sows pearl millet at a distance of about 45 cm and sorghum at 30 cm apart in rows, the yield will be high. "Jitna Gahara Joto Khet, Beej pare, Phal Achha Det" This couplet indicates the importance of deep sowing in rainfed agriculture. 5. Inter-cultural Operation and Weed Control The importance of interculture operations and timely weeding in rainfed agriculture is stressed in these proverbs 6. Manuring

If farmers grow cotton and sugar cane in the same plots year after year, the productivity goes down. "Bowo Gehu, Kat Kapas Na ho Dhela, Na ho ghass." When wheat and cotton are rotated, wheat should be sown after cotton in well pulverized soil in which there are no clods and weeds. 8. Diseases "Magh Puse Bah Purwai Tab Sarso Ko Mahu Khai"

If there is humidity during November-January, aphid infestation in oil seed crops will be high. Phagun Maws Bah Purwai Tah Gehu Mein Gerwa Dhai If there is cloudy weather and more humidity in February,

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Honey Bee Hums

Farmer-readers of Tamil version : "Nam Vazhi Velanmai" have sent in some innovations. Farmers and scientist from other regions may send their comments in order to establish a dialogue across cultures and regions. 1. M A Chinnathambi, Kambur Village, Alangampatti Post, Kottmpatti Tal. Madurai Dist. a) i) Stress Feeds and Fodder Coconut Leaves groundnut. This gives satisfactory control of insect populations. The farmers here have been using this practice for 15 years. 2. A Rajamani, Nattarpatti village, Vilampatti Post, Nilakkottai Tal; Anna District.

When `bhendi' (Abelmorchuos esculentus) pods are discoloured (light yellowor white) the same extract is sprayed on the fields. b) Pests and Diseases of Paddy Sacks filled with 8 kg of `neem' cakes are immersed in irrigation channels to control stem borer, gall fly and bacterial wilt. The `neem' cake is used 18 to 20 days after planting and has to be replaced every 25 days. c) Green Algae

Innovative Practices Contributed by Readers of Local Versions

`Palampasi' (Sida acuta) is fed to cattle separately or mixed with Cuminum cuminum three times for treating diarrhoea. 3. M P Vellai Mayathevar, Kinnimangalam, Chekkanurani-626514, Madurai District. Dried and powdered Prosopis juliflora seeds are mixed with rice bran in the ratio of 1:10 and fed to cattle. Care should be taken that Prosopis powder does not exceed half measure (i.e. about 600 g) at a time. It is given only two days a week.

After removing the lower fronds from coconut palms the leaf stalks are separated and used for making brooms. The leftover green leaf residue is fed to cattle; dairy animals often produce more milk on this diet. ii) Boiled Tapioca: The tubers and stem-bark of tapioca are boiled (cooked) and fed to cattle. iii) Mango Peel and Kernels Dairy animals fed mango peels and kernels produce more milk and with higher fat content. b) Control of Paddy, Groundnut, Sugarcane and Coconut Pests Sugarcaner and Coconut Pests From July to September, `neem' fruit is soaked in water to separate the pulp from the kernels. The oil that gets extracted from the pulp is mixed with water and sprayed in sugar cane and coconut fields. Farmers also pour the thin leftoever solution on the primordial region of coconut trees. `Neem' oil (300 ml), kerosene (250 ml), soap powder (150 g) are mixed together in 13 litres of water, which is the capacity of hand-operated sprayer tank, and the solution is sprayed against leaf-rollers of paddy and

For controlling algae in irrigation wells, that choke the foot-value of pumps, one bundle of dried paddy straw (about 20 kg weight) is chopped into small particles and immersed in the water (perhaps the phenolic substances in the straw help to check algae : Vivekanandan). 5. S Vel Murugan, T. Gengamuthur Village, Thethoor P.O., Palamedu Via, Vadipatti Taluka, Madurai District, Pin-625 503. a) Relay Cropping

During `Karthigai' `margazhi' (November and December) groundnut is sown as irrigated crop. Gingelly, With eight years of experience with this bengal gram, cowpea are grown on the technique, Mr. Mayathevar has noticed bunds. After 45 days when groundnut increases in the weights and milk yields is weeded (a) second time, seeds of of the livestock. cottn (MCU : 5 variety) arer planted and gypsum is applied in the field. 4. V K Jayaveeran, Within three months, the groundnut Kuppanampatti village, Usilampatti can be harvested along with the oil Taluka; Madurai District. seeds and pulses. Later on, the cotton is picked. When farmers stagger the a) Chilli Leaf Spot and Powdery planting dates for these crops, the Mildew Disease costs of ploughing, making ridges and Juice is extracted from the leaves furrows, as well as weeding and of Prosopis juliflora and diluted spraying can be reduced considerably. with water and sprayed in Chilli They can take advantage of three (Capsicum spp) fields two months harvests in a single season!. after planting. For spraying one Authors are working as Associate acre, three litres of leafs extract Professor at CCS, Haryana are required. Agricultural University, Hisar 125004, Haryana, India. Will you standy by the intellectual property rights of peasant?

Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993


Survey of Innovations in Gujarat : Part VI

There is an important change in the presentation of the results of our continuing survey of innovations at grassroot level: we are not providing the full addresses of the innovators. This step became necessary when we were told that some groups were trying to use the information given, for not very productive ends. Our concern for the intellectual property rights of indigenous innovators raised the following issue: if a third party tries to enter into a contract with an innovator whose full address we mention in Honey Bee at terms that are not fair to the innovator, shouldn't we be doing something? As an initial step we decided to provide just the name of the innovator and his or her district. Those who need information for genuine purposes can still write to us and get in touch with the original innovators. We are aware this step will make life only slightly more difficult for the seeker. It will, however, not solve the problem of unauthorizeduse. Even at present we describe each innovation in considerable detail so that the reader is in a position to try it out. We do this because we do not want to deviate from our goal of linking innovators across different language cultures. We request readers to write and help us resolve the dilemma of sharing full information and yet not rob ther innovators of their IPRs. Should we present only rudimentary information? Should we continue to provide only the abstract of the recipe, as we do now, and furnish full information when farmers or researchers write to us? After all farmer-to-farmer linkage is no less an important goal a protection of IPR. We have been contacting Patent Attorneys in the West so that we could file patent applications on behalf of the innovators. We realize that the Indian Government's present policies on the subject may not be of much help to grassroots innovators. Therefore, we are pursuing the subject at the policy level in order to encourage acceptance of the Intellectual Patent Regime for indigenous innovations. The opposition of many groups to the GATT negotiations (with modification of course) on the subject, in our view, is guided by either lack of confidence in the local innovative potential and capacity, or just misinformation. There are several issues, as mentioned below, which need to be sorted out. The dialogue on the subject must be kept open. A society which does not want to reward innovators and inventors cannot aspire to have a meritocratic cultur and a bright future. Global Data Base on indigenous innovations As mentioned in the previous issue of Honey Bee, we are engaged in developing three different kinds of global data bases on

Anil K Gupta Kirit K Patel

i) ii) iii)

technological innovations; institutional innovations ecological knowledge systems and literature base.

We invite readers to contribue information, articles, books, unpublished reports or theses by students, scholars, in English, Hindi or other Indian languages. We will

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

acknowledge every contribution. Efforts are underway to develop databases in local languages so that local communities can have access to them through our collaborating educational institutions like the Gram Vidyapeeths. We aim to set up a computer server at SRISTI so that in due course various institutions, first in India and later in different parts of the

A Chance for Scientists to Reorient Science! We must confess that not many scientists have acted to stop or to modify their ongoing research experiments or to start new experiments taking-off from the creativity of local communities. Small experiments indeed have been started by some of the Vidyapeeths in Gujarat. Gujarat Agricultural University is compiling a list of experiments started partly or completely on the basis of farmers' innovations. We plan to grant small scholarships to postgraduate students for taking up experiments on farmers' innovations. We have been using the NAPRALERT database at University of Illinois, Chicago, courtesy Drs. Farnsworth, Beecher and Mary Lou Quinn to screen the local botanical knowledge in order to see how strategic the specific innovations are. To illustrate, we mention the case of Ipomoea fistulosa which was published in HB Vol. 3(2):17 (Please refer box on page no. 19). In this part we describe 26 innovations dealing with farm implements, green manuring and sowing methods, pest control, livestock, and fish trapping. We invite readers to write in their reactions, provide examples contrary to these ideas or confirming them. and to phypothesize as to why these innovations work, if they do. Some colleagues have written on us that we should talk about cultural and institutional contexts of thes einnovations. We have been collecting such information and will be publishing it in due course. We try, however, not to mystify the knowledge too much lest readers are dissuaded from trying out experiments on the same. The HB team awaits your response to the questions raised here as well as to the innovations shared in this issue. We are interested even in your failure to identify they "why". After all, only then can the dialogue between the two knowledge systems take place with respect and curiosity that are so necessary for building bridges.

world, can access these databases through E-mail. Access to these databases is restricted, at this stage, to farmers, artisans, pastoralists and scholars collaborating with us. On the other hand, Honey Bee is open to network members. However, access to the database will be open to those who not only take but also add knowledge to it. It will be necessary for every user to enter into a contract with SRISTI so that if any commercial product is developed through use of the database, a share of the profits goes to the original innovators and a very small proportion to SRISTI. We are keen to know more about similar databases and will be happy to network with other groups who share our philosophy.

More on Insecticidal use of

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Ipomoea fistulosa

Dr. W B Rahudkar has noticed that economically poor farmers of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra have been using extracts of Ipomoea fistulosa for controlling insect pests of cotton crop (HB Vol. 3(2):17) for many years. The local name of this plant is `besharm' or `nilajari', meaning shameless, as this plant grows vigorously anywhere, even during the hot summer. (One of the Gujarati names of Ipomoea fistulosa, `nafattia', also means the same). We found 15 published research papers on different aspects and uses of Ipomoea fistulosa in NAPRALERT. Saxena and Smith (1985) tried to explore its insecticidal effect on the household insect. Anojpheles stephensi at the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. The dried leaf extract (acetone extract) caused 70 per cent mortality in larvae, 15 per cent in pupae and 10 per cent in adult emergence. Dr. Rijvi (1980) and his colleagues at Gorakhpur University, Uttar Pradesh conducted experiments to extract a natural herbicide and found weak germination inhibition (20 per cent) in Amaranthus spinosus. Dr. Pandey et al (1982) of the same University, published their work on antifungal activities of some leaf essential oil of Ipomoea fistulosa to be active against the fungus Fusarium oxysporium. The other papers reported in NAPRALERT were on either chemical composition or biological information. We have not yet come across any scientific reference to insecticidal use in agriculture. Recently, scientists in Entomology Department, Gujarat Agricultural University, Navsari and Mahila Gram Vidyapeeth, Nardipur, Gujarat, have started experimentation on this aspect. Some readers have reported that they did not find leaf extract of Ipomoea fistulosa effective when they tried it in their region. There may be several reasons for this, such as variation within the species; the nature of habitat or soil on which the plant grows and the method and mode of extraction etc. The ethno-medical information in NAPRALERT cautions that the correct identification of this plant is highly questionable. Moreover, this plant has several varieties spread throughout India. A report of the Board of Science and Education on "Alternative Therapy" published by British Medical Associatin, UK had notedf (though in an appendix) that the leaves of the same plant collected from different soils at different times have different properties. Since so many known and unknown factors may affect the plant's performance, invalidation of the innovation is not so easy. ----------------------------------------------------------------

Pandey, D K Chandra, H; Tripathi, N N (1982). "Volatile Fungitoxic Activity of Some Higher Plants with Special Reference to that of Callistemon lanceolatus" Phytopathology No. 105, pp. 175-82. Rizvi, S J H; Mukherji, D; Mathur, S N (1980). "A New Report of Possible Source of Natural Herbicide" Indian Journal of Exp. Biology, Vol. 18, pp. 777-81. Saxena, S.C; Sumithra, L (1985). "Laboratory Evaluation of Leaf Extract of a New Plant to Suppress the Population of Malaria Vector Anopheles stephensi liston Current Science, Vol. 54(4), 201-02.


Land Preparation

In Saurashtra, farmers plough their groundnut fields immediately after the monsoon crop and keep the furrows exposed till the onset of the next monsoon. They believe that the fine soil and dust deposited on the furrows by the wind during summer benefits the groundnut being planted in the following season in the same furrows. Sometimes farmers incorporate small pieces of brickes in the soil as an alternative to trap wind-borne soil. (The same practice was observed in Mahendragarh District, Haryana (Gupta, Patel and Shah, 1985). There, the farmers expected chickpea residue to move with the wind and get deposited in the open furrows: Ed) Desai Jitubhai, Dist: Amreli, Comm: Ms. Pandya Neha K. 4302 Disease Control 4302.1 `Kukad' Disease in Chilli `Kukod' is a viral disease of the chilli plant characterised by curling of leaves and dropping of flowers and is very common in winter. Farmers prepare an extract of tobacco leaves and mix it with equal quantities of bajra flour and butter milk. This admixture is sprinkled on the crop. Approximately 30 to 40 kg of the mixture is required for one acre. A week after this treatment, the plants bear new growth. The treatment is repeated twice or thrice at weekly intervals. Some growers have been using this practice for the last six to eight years. In South Gujarat, farmers

A. Agricultural Practices

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

dissolve alum in water which has been used for washing intact fish (fish from which the scales have not been removed). This mixture is sprinkled over the diseased chilli crop. This practice has been in use for the last 10 to 12 years in this region. Dr. Pandey comments : `Kukad' of `kokadava' disease is a viral disease transmitted by the white fly. Sometimes, the disease becomes serious when the population of other sucking pests like thrips increases. Tobacco leaves contain nicotine which is a contact poison. (Nicotine sulphate 40% is used @ 50 ml. per 10 litres of water for control of pests). Washings of fish may contain some protein which is coagulated by the alum. This suspension may form a protective layer on the plants and prevent the sucking insects from effective probing. Alum by itself also has some insecticidal properties. Vasava Maganbhai, Dist: Dang, Comm: Baria Balubhai R and Nariya Jivrajbhai Limbabhai Dist: Jamnagar, Comm: Ms. Vandra Kashmira N. 4302.2 Wilt in Eluesine coracana and Pigeon Pea `Nagli' (Eleusine coracana), a minor millet grown in the tribal regions of South Gujarat, is sometimes affected by a disease called wilt (locally `sukara'), especially when the climate is hot and humid. Farmers spray goat's milk on the crop to control the disease. Ms. Desmukh suggsts broadcasting of powdered dried fish in the pigeon pea for the same disease. Dr. Pandey comments : Goat milk has protein which possesses

antimicrobial properties. Fish powder has a poisonous chemical called trimethyl amine. Both the ingredients act only as contact poisons against follar disease, `sukara' which is a vascular (internal) wilt disease, may not be controlled by these, it is difficult to diagnosis `sukara' as a wilt because farmers often use the word `sukara' for identifying any common disease characterised by withering of plant. Hence, it is possible that positive effects may be seen if the crop has been affected by some other disease or pest. Bariya Shantaben Tulshiram, Dist : Valsad and Ms. Deshmukh Ratnaben R Dist: Valsad, Comm: Jogari Bharat L. 4302.3 Control of `Galo' Disease in Sugarcane `Galo' is a disease characterised by deposition of droplets of sticky, semi liquid honey-like dew on the leaves and stems of sugarcane in the winter. Long before winter sets in, farmers collect twigs of calotropis and soak them in a tank filled with water and allow them to decay for months. The extract is then sprayed on the crop. This treatment cures the disease within two to three days. No adverse effect has been noticed; however, the cane should be washed before consumption. Even though this practice is laborious, about 30 to 40 per cent of the farmers in this area have been using this method for the last eight to ten years.

Dr. Pandey comments : The disease has been observed particularly when mealy bug, pyrilla and other sucking pests feed on stems and leaves. Calatropls has alkaloids with insecticidal proerties. These are perhaps released in the water when the twigs rot. Katrodia Chinubhai, Dist: Amreli, Comm: Ms. Pandya Neha K. 4302.4 Vine: Rotting of Bottle Gourd

The lower portion of the vine of the bottle gourd has a tendency to rot. A spoonful of `hing' (asafoetida) powder is put on the rotten portion and a fine-cloth bandage is tied around it. This treatment has been in existence for a long time and is mostly used in homestead gardens and shows favourable effects within a week. Dr. Pandey comments: The rot is due to fungus, `Hing' (asafoetida) has tannins which act as enzyme inhibitors. These check the growth of the gungus, allowing the gourd to rejuvenate itself. Patel Mohanbhai Shamjibhai, Dist: Jamnagar, Comm: Ms. Vandra Kashmira N. 4303 Weed for Water Conservation and as Green Manure Farmers allow a weed called `kharbi' to grow in the field since it is believed to help the main crop. In earlier times this weed used to be buried in the soil to provide manure to the main crop. Later on, some farmers noticed that it absorbs moisture from the deeper layer of the soil and helps in retaining it in the upper layers. Vasava Ishwarbhai Jivanbhai, Dist: Dang, Comm: Baria Balubhai R.

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4304 Pruning Apical Buds in Bottle Gourdds : Farmer to Farmer Diffusion of Indigenous Innovation Across the Region. Some farmers grow bottle gourd and other vegetables in summer when the prices of these are high.They allow the apical shoot to grow till it bears five or six flowers. After that onl the lateral branches are allowed to grow till they bear five or six flowers. The apical bud of the lateral branch is then snipped and only the sub-lateral branches are allowed to grow. Farmers say that this practice improves the quality of the vegetable. Ravjibhai Parmer has been following this practice since last year after learning about it from Mr. Hirjibhai Bhingradiya of Bhavnagar district. Parmar Ravjibhai Jivanbhai, Dist: Kheda, Comm: Dabhi Kantibhai J. 4305 Seed Treatment

4305.1 To Enhance Germination of Bottle Gourd Seeds are soaked in water and wrapped in moist cotton cloth. This moist bag is put in a vessel and buried in farmyard manure for a day. The logic behind this practice is that the moisture of wet cotton and the heat produced inside the manure heap softens the seed coat thereby enhancing germination. Sometimes farmers merely keep the seeds in water for 24 hours, but they report that the first mentioned method, though more laborious, gives better result. (Dr. Abedin, BARI, Bangladesh had once reported a similar practice in which farmers tied the moist seeds of bottle gourd around their waist in the turn of the `lungi' - a piece of cloth tied below waist. The body temperature helped the seed to germinate : Ed.) Jadeja Sajubha Jamabha, Dist : Kutch, Comm: Patel Suresh H. 4305.2 To Protect Against Insect Pest Seeds of groundnut are smeared with latexc of Euphorbia spp to avoid infestation by `talkidi' insect and `ratada' disease. Ayar Virabhai has been using this practice for 10 years. Approximately 100 g of latex are required to smear 10 kg of seed. Farmers collect the fresh latex in vessels and treat the seeds on the eve of sowing. However, because of its stickiness, this treatment may not be popular with the farmers now. Ayar Virabhai Sidabhai, Dist: Jamnagar, Comm: Dangar Dahyabhai V.

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

B. Animal Husbandry and Livestock

4306 Constipation The decoction is filtered through a cotton cloth and given to the animal if it has not dropped the placenta within 7-8 hours after calving. To prepare one litre of decoction, approximately 400 g each of empty pods shell and roots are boiled in 2-3 litres of water. Approximately half a litre of decoction is given to the animal 2 or 3 times at intervals of half an hour or so. This treatment starts having its effect within an hour. Few peopl use this treatment; it was quite popular 30-35 years ago. One limitation is that cottn shells and roots are available only during a limited period in the year. Darbar Jorubha Chandansinh, Dist: Banaskantha, Comm: Darbar Jalamsinh K. 4309 Septic Wounds


Leaf to `Sundarsol'

Constipation is quite a common condition in bullocks. Locally this condition is called `kabatjiyat'. People collect the yellow coloured fruits of the `harde' (Terminalia chebula) plant and keep them in the sun for two to three days. Approximately 250 g of the powder of the dried fruits and one litre of water is administered to the animal. The effects are felt within a day. Too high dose can cause diarrhoea. `Harde' is a medium size tree and bears fruit in winter. Sometimes people store these fruits for the lean period. About 30 to 40 per cent of the people use the `harde' fruit to cure constipation. Kanabhai Vejabhai Bharvad, Dist: Ahmedabad, Comm: Ms. Pandya Neha K. 4307 Diarrhoea

The leaf of `sundarsol' placed on an injury with its upper side in contact with its upper side in contact with a wound, promotes healing. If the lower (dorsal) side is placed in contact wth a boil, it forms pus. In the treatment the lower side is first applied to ripen the boils and then the upper side for quick healing. Peole treat clean wounds directly with the upper side of the leaf. The same treatment is also used in human beings and is widely adopted in Gujarat. However, the plant is not easily available. Ms. Chovriya Godavriben Valjibhai, Vill: Padarshinga, Tal : Lathi, Dist: Amreli, Comm: Patel Jayesh G. 4309.3 `Sindur' and Sesame oil

4309.1 Ghee and Latex of `darudio' Latex of a noxious weed called `darudio' (Argemone mexicana), collected by detaching branches from the shoot is mixed with clarified butter (ghee) and applied on wounds to kill the pathogens. Some farmers use only the latex. It is applied twice a day for 2-3 days. `Darudio' (Mexican poppy) grows in winter and bears seeds in capsule during early summer. It grows with wheat crop on cultivated land. However, it grows profusely in uncultivated common land. It grows upto 1 to 2 feet height and bears tiny thorns on the leaves and the stem. Thakor Arjanji Limbaji, Dist: Banaskantha, Comm: Darbar Jalamsinh K.

Roots of `dedhumari' (Ficus hispida) are crushed after washing, soaked in water for an hour and filtered through cloth. Between 100 and 200 g of the filtrate is administered to the animal. This treatment begins to take effect in a day and a complete cure is effected in about 2-3 days. Many farmers use this method though at times they do consult traditional veterinary experts. This method has been in use for a long time. `Dedhumari' is a small tree, that grows near river banks. It bears fruits similar to those of `banyan'. Baria Haribhai Rumalbhai, Dist: Panch Mahal, Comm: Patel Chandubhai T. 4308 Dropping of Placenta

If a semi-liquid paste of `sindur' (mercuric oxide) in sesame oil is applied on a septic wound, healing is evident in three or four days. Care should be taken to see that the animal does not lck the paste; hence a bandage

Empty cotton shells and rots of the cotton plant are boiled in water.

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is tied over the wound. This practice originated about ten years ago and is followed by about 25 to 30 per cent of the villagers. Sometimes people use crushed leaves of `kidamari' (Aristolochia bracteata) for the same purpose. Kalabhai Gagjibhai, Dist: Ahmedabad, Comm: Ms. Pandya Neha K. 4310 Rabies

the mouth. This practice is continued for eight o ten days, especially after calving or while recuperating from illness. It is a widely known practice. Bihola Pithuji Badalji, Dist: Gandhinagar Comm: Ms. Rathod Vimla B. Sesame oil and sugar are mixed together in equal proportions and rubbed on the skin over the affected part of the camel's body, twice a day for three or four days. Most camel keepers in this region are aware of this practice. Raval Chhaganbhai Joytabhai, Dist: Mahesana, Comm: Darbar Jalamsinh K. 4314 Intestinal Worms

Vadi Polabhai Mavjibhai, dist: Jamnagar, Comm: Vandra Kashmira N. 4315 To Increase the Milk Yield

4315.1 Leaves and Twigs of `Jethimadh' The leaves and twigs of a tree locally called `jethimadh' (Taverniera cuneifolia) are regularly fed to the animals. According to some farmers the practice also reduces the intercalving interval. People also feed ther vines of `guruvel'

Approximately 10 leaves of Calotropis spp and jaggery are fed to the animal 23 times at an hour's interval. The animal calms down within an hour or so after this treatment. This tratment is believed to give good results if it is followed immediately after appearance of symptoms of the disease at an early stage. In advanced stages, chances of success are very rare. This is a fairly well-known method of treatment. Jadeja Navabha Rajbha, Dist : Kutch, Comm: Patel Suresh H. 4311 To prevent Prolapse of Uterus

4314.1 Roots of Asparagus spp Roots of `satavari' (Asparagus spp), also known locally as `sasani ghoghdi' are pounded thoroughly and mixed with water. Approximately two glasses of the suspension are administyered to the calf early in the morning. There is a belief that excessive feeding of milk increases the worm load in young calves. This practice is quite old and has not changed over the years. Bhoya Somabhai Chalkiya, Dist: Valsad, Comm: Ganvit Nayna B. 4314.2 Paste f hyssoplifolium Enicostema (Tinospora spp), collected from the forests, for the same purpose. The vine grows in hedges and climbs on to large trees. This practicew is reported to increase not only the milk yield but also the fat content of the milk. Gamit Hirabhai Gordhanbhai. Dist: Dang, and Vasava Rameshbhai Ukabhai, Dist: Dang, Comm: Baria Balubhai R. 4315.2 Vines of Kharkhodi and Seeds of Fennel Most shepherds and herders collect vines of `kharkhodi' from the hedges and feed it to the cattle for increasing milk yield. Also pounded seeds of fennel are soaked in water and given to animal for the same purpose. Patel Kuraji Premaji, Dist : Jamnagar, Comm: Dangar Alabhai G.

To prevent premature delivery in cattle farmers give approximately one kg of castor oil to the animal in the morning, in three to four split doses, along with other feed. They prefer to give castor oil with jaggery after 3-4 months of pregnancy. Sometime `ramachi', locally available coloured clay used for painting is also mixed in water and given to the animal. Some farmers use it to paint the upper surface of the animal's body to maintain optimum body heat. Most farmers follow all these practices at various times according to the availability of resources and severity of the problem. Chamar Daiben Ramabhai, Dist: Gandhinagar, Comm: Rathod Vimla B. 4312 Appetite Stimulant

Approximately 100 g of white alum is dissolved in water and given to animals which are off feed. Excessive doses produce ulcers in

A plant, locally called `mamejvo' (Enicosstema hyssoplifolium), is pounded and given to the calf twice or thrice a day. The plant grows to a height of hardly one foot and bears very small leaves. The practice is very old.

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Poultry Disease Management

2. Small pieces of onion 3. Grains of paddy smeared with kerosene 4. Tuber of `dev-alad' (Curcuma spp) 5. Dodder (Cuscuta reflexa) Most people use the bark of `beda', or the tuber of Curcuma spp and Cuscuta reflexa. However, the choice depends on the season and availability of plant. Cuscuta reflexa is a parasitic plant locally called as`adharvel' meaning that which does not touch the ground. Vasava Gujariyabhai, Dist: Bharuch, Comm: Vasava Ramji G.

The tribals of the Dediapada forests in Bharuch district generally keep a few birds to meet their daily need of eggs. Sometimes these birds fall prey to an unidentified disease, which kills them within a few days. The tribals use one of the following alternative plant recipes to treat the ailing birds : (In all the cases, plant material is pounded and suspended in the water given to the birds; all the houses have special water sites for chicken) 1. Bark of `beda' 4317 Fishing

numerous small pores while fish cannot come out. `Molo' is placed in opposite direction. Women 0lace this net near their fields before commencing work. After 1 to 2 hours, there is enough fish for the day's meal. This method does not require any extra labour or time because it is a selfoperating system. The people also make small bunds of stone, tree branches and clay to divert more water towards the bamboo net (Similar nets are used in deep waters or rivers of Bangladesh: Ed.) Vasava Gujariyabhai, Dist: Bharuch, Comm: Patel Kirit K. 4317.2 Fish Plant Products for Killing of

Tribals of Dediapada forest use different methods to catch fish from small streams.

enter are used. These are two types of nets -- one type known as `bhosakiya', for catching downward moving fish and the other, called `molo', for upward moving fish.

Sometimes to catch fish on a large scale, tribals use various parts of different creepers and trees as fishkillers. This method is userd in streams carrying a larger number of fish and when it is possible to stop the waterflow for a short time. Any of the following may be used: i) Bark of `chinara'

ii) Leaves of `punja' iii) Plant of `agari' iv) Fruit of `gala' v) Plant of `chido' along with root One of the above is pounded on stones near the stream and suspended in the water after stopping water flow with bunds made of branches, clay and stones. The fish die soon and they are picked up manually or with a net-like scopping implement of bamboo known as `aswo'. Among all these plants `chido' is extremely poisonous for fish. The quantity of material used generally depends on size of stream. Vasava Gujariyabhai, Dist: Bharuch, Comm: Patel Kirit K


Bamboo Net

Nets made of different types of bamboo strips into which fish can only

`Bhosakiya' is placed in the stream in such a way that water and fish enter it from the open, broad mouth (See fig.) The water passes through the

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Letters to the Editor

Rural Programmes on Mass Media Dr. R. Ganesan Dean Gandhigram Rural Institute Gandhigram 624302 D O M District, Tamil Nadu Recently, I participated in the "Rural Programmes Advisory Committee" meeting of AIR (All India Radio) Madurai, in which I talked about the documentation of Honey Bee and I stressed the need for allocation of timings for Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) under rural programmes of AIR. The theme was accepted for broadcast by the Station Director and Farm Radio Officer. I have advised one of the Ph.D. scholars, Mrs. S. Parvati of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, to concentrate on IKS on postharvest handling. It would be better to give the common English name for pests, crops, animal diseases besides the vernacular expressions and scientific names in Honey Bee. To cite a few examples, in Vol. 4(1), the following could not be understood: a) On pg. 6, `shutara' weed, `panpey' plant, `kaitha' fruits, sada bahar plants. (We have requested concerned authors in Bhutan and Uttar Pradesh for sending plant samples. Perhaps your direct communication to them may expedite the matter: Ed.) b) On pg. 12, `falmakhi' pest; `ratda' disease, `kukad' viral disease (`falmakhi' is a fruiffly which lays eggs inside the fruits like guava, ber etc. `Ratda' and `kukad' are diseases; one has to analyse the symptoms of `ratda' during infection. `Kukad', common viral disease of vegetables, is transmitted through whitefly : Ed.) Can a Medical Doctor Help? Dr. Z M Datta, Woodstock School Mussoorie Hills-248179 Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh Kindly let me know whether I, being a medical practitioner, can be of any aid or assistance to you in your noble work. Your production is very helpful and a guide to me in my Christian medical missionary work in the service of urban and rural areas. A Camal Cannot Have a Big Head Mr. Nagaraj, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu I agree with youwhen you say that the worst kind of threat is from the so called "liberals". It is these pseudo-progressives who have been the most vociferous supporters of

basis with an all India coordination today is the vast section of poor peasants with a clear view to conserve our life, water, soil, forest, cattle and seeds. There should be an end for this kind of industrialisation. India can live only when its millions of villages flourish. The urban-based "liberals" are the greatest threat to the lives of the millions. (We understand and appreciate your frustration with what you call `urban liberals'. However, we must take care not to jump from the fire into the frying pan. The new conservatives inventing a "glorious tradition" are no less a threat to a self reliant and ecosustainable economy than pseudoliberals. May be the labels have last their meanings. : Ed.) How can we Proceed Further Kapil Shah Sustainable Farming Vinoba Ashram, Gotri, Vadodara 390 021 As a side effect of the green revolution, indigenous cultivators are varnishing from the farmers' fields. Such cultivators should be managed properly and if required they sould be brought back to the fields. Interestingly, after extensive and intensive cultivation of hybrid cotton in Amod taluka of Bharuch district, farmers nowcultivate `gheti' cotton, an indigenous cultivbar and a short staple variety (though it is illegal to cultivate). However, it was grown so extensively last year that local cooperatives had to start purchasing such cotton. Farmers are now realizing the value and importance of indigenous cultivators. During my "Sustainable Farming Camps" for farmers, I found that in many cases the basic information on local cultivars was

the kind of development which is really devastating our land. I told one of the Planning Commission members at Chandigarh, a couple of months back that a camel cannot have a big head nor an elephant a long neck. Development is an organic concept. Well they did not question me but would not change their views either. The one great force that we should mobilise on a statewide

Newsletter based on creativity and experimentation of people at grassroots


Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

missing. It is a pity that the new generation of the agrarian sector knows little about local cultivars. On the other hand, the Gujarat Agricultural University must have collected and maintained the local germ lasm of each crop at its research stations. As a student of plant breeding I would prefer to maintain local germ plasm at its native or original place rather than at research stations. How can we proceed further on this issue? Shall we ask the Director of Research, Gujarat Agricultural University (GAU) to provide us details of local germ plasm for an inventory for our ready reference? (First step first. Why not first inventorise the available germ

plasm variability, collect and maintain it locally before asking GAU's help, though that would not be difficult at all: Ed.)

some information about household activities like seed storage, treatment, animal husbandry etc. I am now sending some information about treatment of dill seed which it\s practiced by many people in our region. For better germination, the seed coats are reptured on a hard floor with a shoe or `chappal'. Either the seed coat breaks slightly or, if the pressure appied is too much, the two halves get separated. These seeds are then broadcasted in the field. If seed quality is good, even the half seeds germinate. When NGOs Cannot Afford Pankaj Joshi Science and Engineering Materials Department of Chemistry Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85287-1604 Not being a farmer I cannot make much use of knowledge about grasshoopers and animal husbandry. However, the newsletter is a beautiful attempt to help communication between distant farmers, rural innovtors and inquisitive scientists. As a student residing in the US, I am supposed to pay subscription of US$5. I think I can pay some more. I am sure monetary cap must be limiting many innovative ideas of HB staff. At the same time some NGOs will not be able to afford Rs. 50 for the yearly subscription. If you know about such NGOs, I would like to pay for some of them. Everybody is Interested Patel Ramanbhai C Vill: Vaktapur Ujedia PO Kherol, Tal: Prantij Dist: Sabarkantha I received your magazine very late as someone borrowed it directly from the post office. It came to me via some farmers because everybody was interested in reading it. I wish to pay the subscription. Since they are very relevant to our farming I read all the practices with great interest. We have some practices like broadcasting roasted maize in castor for the control of larvae called `ghodiya iyal'. We also put seeds of groundnut in lime solution before sowing for better germination.

Linseed Saves Chickpeal Claus Euler Deputy Country Coordinator EDM, Box 986, Dhaka Bangladesh I am working with belowpovertyline rural people in an integrated development project, in which we are trying to plan activities with maximum participation. I keep my ears constantly open to learn about any local knowledge. I did my Ph.D. research in a mountain village in Nepal, where I could document a whole lot of local wisdom and seasonal food items (like wild fruits) which normally do not play any role in the present cash-oriented economy. Recently, I went to visit Shimolia village of Khoksha sub-district in west Bangladesh on 11th March 1993, I talked to farmer Basur Mandal. He casually told me about the effect of the `hana poka' (hole insect), an insect which attacks the fresh chickpea (locally called `sola' crop), makes a big hole in the capsule and eats up the seeds. Knowing this insect's preference for the chickpea crop, the farmers practice double cropping with linseed (locally called `tisi') which, growing taller, effectively keeps away the `hana poka', which cannot bear the smell of the linseed blossoms. (Keep it up! please send us more such examples: Ed) For better generation of Dill Maniben Maneklal Praajapati Vill: Bamnoj, Tal: Danta, Dist: Banaskantha I remember one student met me sometime back asking for

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News and Views

Swedish Student studies indigenous water conservation Mr. Lyes Ferroukhi, a post-graduate student at University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden spent about three months with SRISTI and Honey Bee network to study indigenous water conservation practices of pastoralists in the arid region of Kutch, Gujarat. SRISTI will be circulating the Gujarati translation of the final report to all the members of the community who provided valuable knowledge and extended warm hospitality. An Indian post-graduate in agriculture, Jitendra H Suthar, collaborated in this study. SRISTI welcomes students from other parts of the world interested in learning from the creativity and innovation of local farmers and communities in India. Dr. Kristin Cashman, Visiting Scholar concluded her study as did her friend, Dr. Will Gibson. Getting message across : Video film by DECU/ISRO Development education and Communication Unit (DECU) of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Ahmedabad made a film on "Peoples' Science" (20 minutes) describing four innovations of artisans. The film was broadcast on regional television and also shown at National Congress on Traditional Sciences in Bomay. Other films in collaboration with SRISTI are in progress. Conservation Through Competition among children and others Biodiversity contests w e r e organised at two different villages, Virampur and Sembalpani, Banaskantha district, Gujarat among children and adults. It was also organised in village Gangagarh, UP North India with the help of voluntary organization - Alok Charitable Trust. Extremely useful and diverse knowledge of local environment and its role in survival were brought out. A copy of the report can be obtained from us.

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Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

Book Worm

1. Madhav Ram Verma1, "Dairy Husbandry of Nomadic Gujjars in Six South West Himachal Forest Ranges", M.Sc Thesis submitted to Punjab Agriculural University, 1967, 135 pp. Around the late-sixties a small group of scientists led by Dr. Y P Singh at the Extension Department, Punjab Agricultural University had raised the issue of scientists learning from local knowledge and practices of farmers (Verma and Singh, "A plea for Studies in Traditional Animal Husbandry", The Allahabad Farmer 1969). The issue was by and large ignored by Indian scientists until the early-eighties, when western scientists like Chambers, Biggs and Brakenshaw etc. began to recognize its significance. As a tribute to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Singh and his colleagues we are reviewing the post graduate thesis of one of their students, Dr. M R Verma. The author adopted an anthropological approahc in studying the indigenous animal husbandry practices of the Gujjars - a nomadic tribe in S E Himachal Pradesh. The data was collected through participant observation, interview guide, diary writing and from secondary sources. A systematic account of the culture of the Gujjars is provided in Part I. The impacts of the nomadic habit and the nature of occupation viz. animal husbandry in shaping the culture and word-view of the Gujjars is captured well in this account. Part II forms the bulk of the thesis. It presents the documentation of dairy husbandry practices related to (a) calf rearing (b) puberty, pregnancy and parturition (c) bull management (d) feeds and fodder (e) milking, milk and milk producers (f) diseases and their treatment. In Part III the author draws implications for providing policy and institutional support to bring the otherwise isolated community into main stream social life. The thesis ends with a list of twenty questions posed as a research agenda for scientists. Interestingly, most of these questions are derived from Gujjars' existing solutions rather than problems. To illustrate, I quote from the text: 1. What makes Maljan (Bauhinia vahlii) effective in killing leeches in water? 2. Has the milk test employed by the subjects for pregnancy diagnosis any scientific base? The test comprises stripping milk from pregnant animals (3 months and above) and forming a thread with the help of indexc finger and thumb with a drop of milk. Should thread formation occur, the animal is supposed to be pregnant." It is unfortunate that such systematic and empirical work on indigenous knowledge has remained unpublished till date. 2. Traditional Veterinary Medicine in Nepal, published by the FAO/APHCA, Bankok, Thailand, 1991, is based on the work of Dr. D D Joshi and is an updated version of a 1984 monograph. It describes the medicinal uses of 156 plants and also lists out homeopathic and `unani' practices in use in Nepal, and chemicals of plant origin which are used in veterinary medicine. Of special interest is the classification of traditional veterinary practitioners into 14 groups. These include established systems like ayurveda, `unani', homeopathy and `sidha'.

The traditional group of Dhamis, whose knowledge is passed down from generation to generation, and the Pinchasi or Pichas are the two most popular groups in Nepal. The report also contains illustrations and description of 25 commonly used plants. A companion volume, Traditional Veterinary Medicine in Indonesia, is based on the work of Dr. Sokobagyo Poedjomartono and describes more than 75 practices for various conditions like anorexia, diarrhea, bloat, fever, worms, wounds, and intoxication etc. It also lists 106 plants and herbs used in veterinary medicine and carries illustrations of 78 of them. Further information on the publications may be obtained from APHCA Information Exchange Unit, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand.

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3. K. Vijayalakshmi and K M Shyam Sundar, "Plant Propogation Techniques in Vrakshayurveda", LSPSS Monograph No. 10, Madras, 1993. The Lok Swasthya Parampara Samvardhan Samithi (LSPSS) is an all India network of people interested in revitalization of the indigenous systems of health care. The book under review has been brought out by thenetwork as a part of its ontinuing search for ancient, but still valid, practices. It highlights various ways of seed preservation particularly with leaf extracts such as of Ipomoea fistulosa, milk, ashes of different kinds, etc. A specific kind of treatment has been suggested for the seeds of the wood apple by preparing a decoction froots of eight plants (1) `neel koyala', (2) Indian gooseberry, (3) Anogeissus latifolia, (4) `bakkan', (5) `vetula' (6) Heliotropium, (7) Ethites fruteseens and (8) Aganosoma caryophyllum. The roots are first boiled in milk. Then the seeds are soaked in themixture for two minutes and dried in the sun for thirty days. A large number of other practices are also suggested. In some cases, the plant extracts or oils used for improving seed germination are similar to the ones used for improving human fertility (p.8). Many of these practices are used by the farmers even todya as is evident from the publications in Honey Bee. It is, therefore, extremely important that on-farm research is undertaken on the ancient practices, as proposed by the authors. `Susrutha's classification of rice varieties on the basis of taste, potency, digestability, strength, human health effect, etc. is given. It goes without saying tyhat the cataloguing of germplasm can improve a great deal if this taxonomy can be drawn upon.

This monograph is a useful addition to the literature on traditional/ancient botanical knowledge. The monograph could have benefited with more discussion about the modern scientific literature and contemporary practices.

line of treatment was very parsimonious. They devised the treatment of a problem only upto a point and then let the body take over through its own healing process. This seemed to be a vital part of their strategy. China, like many other developing countries, faced health problems. The book provided among other things, an impresive account of China's success in eliminating schistosomiasis. About 250 million people were affected by this disease in the 1960s all over the world. The control strategy used in China offers lessons for problems that require mass mobilization. The life cycle of the blood fluke was studied. Alternatives were generated for controlling the disease by either preventing the host from coming into contact with water sources, or by preventing faeces containing live eggs from contaminating river water, or by attacking the snails. Since the flukes were not equally vulnerable at all the three points in life cycle, equal force was not applied at this stage. The concept of "mass line" was used. The concept rests on the conviction that the ordinary people possess great strength and wisdom and that when their initiative is given full play, they can accomplish miracles; that the art of leadership is to learn from the masses, to refine and systematize their experience and, on this basis, to decide on policy" (p.96). Before one could then try to mobilize the peasantry, they had to be explained the native of the theories which had plagued them for so long. Lectures, film shows, posters, radio talks, etc., were used. Once they understood the problem, the peasants could work out the methos of defeating the fluke. During March and August, the entire population in country after county, supplemented by the labour of army men, students, teachers and office

4. Horn Joshua S., "Away with all Pests : An English Surgeon in People's China : 1954-1969" New York and London, Monthly review Press, 1969. When China and the rest of the world would like to erase chunks of China's history, taking a second look at a book dealing with precisely those moments in history may be useful: we cannot allow good things in history to be cast away. How theory was combined with practice and how different schools of medicine were encouraged to blend was rought out graphically in this book published in 1969. Mao's thoughts were used to inspire the masses, though Horn and Snow (who wrote the foreword for this book) do not believe in the `power' of these thoughts. Just because the Tienanmen square is tainted, the foresight of a society and that of its architects in forging linkages btween the so-called modern and the traditional knowledge systems should not be ignored. Horn describes how herbalists analyzed diseases differently from modern physicians and how their

Newsletter based on creativity and experimentation of people at grassroots


Honey Bee Vol 4 (2&3) Apr-Sept 1993

workers, "turned out to drain the rivers and ditches, dig away and bury their banks and temp down the buried earth" (p. 97). The reliance on the awareness of peasants was of key importance. The mobilization of masses did not mean, "to issue them with shovels and instructions", it meant "fire them with enthusiasm, to release their initiative and tap their wisdom". The book described how scientific problems were solved through

cooperative action and the user of insights of the people at grassroots level. Whenever a particular indigenous innovation was identified, the mechanisms used to scale it up were very forceful. Today, when China has tried to erase all memories of pre 1978, it is possible that the lessons may also e forgotten. Problems of illiteracy, health, sanitation, et., are not going to vanish through paper plans and

bureaucratic strategies. How mass mobilization can be achieved to pursue miraculous goals is what this book is about. Reading it afresh one can ignore some of the political messages in the book. However, one must remember that any major social change does involve policies of one kind or ther. The continued illiteracy, lack of health facilities and poor opportunities for creative farmers and workers to fulfill their potential is also an expression of the political process.

How Can You Join Hands with Honey Bee Network

1. 2. 3. Write about any innovator or inventor who has developed sustainable technologies without outsiders help. Information about repositories of traditional wisdom, ecological knolwedge and natural resource management institutions developed by people on their own. Comments on innovative practices published in Honey Bee by scientists trained in indegenous systems of medicine (Ayurveda, Unani, Sidhha, etc.) and western systerm of science. Also, furhter research to add value to local innovations. Collaboration in bringing out vernacular editions of Honey Bee to promote people to people dialogue. Organization of biodiversity contests among children, and adults. Collection of old mansuscripts, books and other papers on indigenous innovation and knowledge systems. Mobilization of paid membership for Honey Bee network, and any other voluntary initiative to support network activities.

4. 5. 6. 7.

Subscription for the Honey Bee Netw

Dear Readers


We have shared with you more than three hundred innovations and illustrations of farmers' wisdom in the last six issues of Honey Bee. If you have found the newsletter interesting, we invite you to join the Honey Bee Network by sharing the cost of keeping network active. Please write back suggestions for improvement and how you can share the burden of keeping this global but third world based network of scientists, NGOs, farmers, artisans, professionals, activists, political leaders etc., active. Category International National Annual Membership Patron US$ 200 or above Rs. 2000/- or above Supporter US$ 50 Rs. 500/Scientist/Professionals US$ 30 Rs. 120/Foreign aided NGOs US$ 25 Rs. 200/Farmers/NGOs (without foreign aid) US$ 10 -Large Rs. 100/-Small Rs. 50/Students US$ 5 Rs. 20/Unemployed Worker Free Free Institutions/Libraries US$ 100 Rs. 2/This membership entitles you to receive the newsletter and other information about the network. Please send your contributions in the form of bank draft/postal order/money order in favour of SRISTI C/o, Prof Anil K Gupta, Indian Institute of Management, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad - 380 015, India

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