Mahua products yet to see light of the day

Mahua products yet to see light of the day
Highlights

Despite its abundance, the nutrient-rich Mahua flowers and seed products, the lifeline of the indigenous population, haven’t found their way into urban areas due to lackadaisical approach of the agencies concerned.

Khammam/Warangal/Adilabad: Despite its abundance, the nutrient-rich Mahua flowers and seed products, the lifeline of the indigenous population, haven’t found their way into urban areas due to lackadaisical approach of the agencies concerned. Moreover, this Adivasi culture is waning due to the laborious work it involves right from the collection of the Mahua flower, also known as Ippa puvu in local parlance, to the decortication of the seed.

Since times immemorial, brewing arrack from mahua is part of Adivasi culture. It’s not exaggeration to say that there will be at least five mahua trees in the backyard of every Adivasi. The collection of this light greenish-yellow flower, seed and bark, which have medicinal properties, is a means of sustenance to the tribals due its economic value.

Despite this, there was little focus on the mahua trees to exploit its full economic value. With no support from the government agencies concerned, the opportunity of extracting value-added products is going begging. The season of mahua flower collection usually starts with the onset of summer. The collection process is not only time-consuming but also a gruelling exercise.

But if one goes by the nutritional value of the flower and seed, it’s worth if the government invests on training the tribal community people in the preparation of mahua based products such as cakes, chocolates, laddu and jam. In the past, the Chintoor-based NGO - The Association for Social and Humanize Action (ASHA) - has trained tribal women in a phased manner.

The tribals were trained how to collect flower and seed in hygienic way, besides the preparation of value-added products of mahua. ASHA secretary Syed Subhani told The Hans India: “The tribals need a helping hand not only in the collection of mahua flower and seed, but also expertise in making a whole variety of food products. Collecting flower or seed is a cumbersome activity as it involves a lot of physical exertion.”

Referring to the machine called Madhu decorticator he developed a couple of years ago, Subhani said that it would help in removing the rind from mahua seed. Recently, 15-year-old Lipsa, a high school student of Kamgaon village in Bargarh district of Odisha, has come up with a machine that collects flowers efficiently, he said, showering praise on the girl. The girl has received the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Award after her innovation was recognized by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF).

He emphasised the need for government’s helping hand in providing these little machines that help immensely in the collection of mahua to the tribals. Madivi Nehru, State coordinator of the Adivasi Sankshema Parishad (ASP), of Bhadrachalam urged the government to provide training or marketing or any other empowerment programme to the tribals only within their habitats to protect their tradition and culture.

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