Indigenous Wisdom of Farm Women in Grain Storage
Farmers store the produce for two reasons; for home consumption and marketing. Farmers may not accept improvements which incur costs when storing primarily for home consumption. Most developing countries are in the tropics, often in areas of high rainfall and humidity. These conditions are ideal for the development of micro-organisms and insects which cause high levels of deterioration of crops in store. Food losses during storage are the result of biological, chemical or physical damage. In earlier times various indigenous items and methods were used for storage of household items including food items, clothing and bedding etc. The shelf life or storage span of items was increased using readily available and low cost items like ash, sand and plants. Present investigation was carried out in selected villages of Panchkula district of Haryana State by contacting 240 respondents through one to one interaction and group discussion along with participatory rural appraisal technique. The technologies used by respondents for storing grains were documented. The results revealed that neem, camphor, ash, table salt, turmeric powder etc. were the common methods adopted by majority of the respondents for storing the grainsalthough majority of them were not aware of the reasons or qualities of these materials and were using them as age old wisdom. Temperature maintenance was another technique adopted by respondents as the moisture content of grains was checked by cracking them under teeth. So it can be concluded that many of the indigenous practices find credibility even in today’s period. Moreover, their user-friendly approach, local availability associated with scientific reasoning provides enjoyment and satisfaction to the users. It must therefore be encouraged to use only those eco-friendly practices that are known to be both safe and effective. These practices must be modified to make them more efficient for further transfer to the end users in the future.
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