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Blog by Dr Balaram Sahu

There is need of diffusing low cost skills, scientific reasons and technologies to wider spectrum to make lively hood options easier, cheaper and sustainable. Such is a technology practiced by a woman called Charulata, in the field of preservation of grains such as paddy, rice etc.

Charulata And Her Puffed Rice

       
        Climate change has many consequences. Evolution of new pests, mutations of some existing pests and increase in insects have been observed in farm sectors. These pests and insects show their ugly faces in agricultural activities causing economic loss to farmers.       

       Before formal scientists could find suitable answers to face the bad effects of climate change, our grass root women could find skills and means to solve the problems of climate change successfully.   

         One such lady farmer is Mrs. Charulata Biswal. She uses her innovative mind to get a simple solution in preserving her scented rice from pests and insects.

       Mrs. Charulata Biswal lives in village “Lodhani”, in Kamakhyanagar subdivision of Dhenkanal district in Odisha, India. She uses “Murhi” or “puffed Rice”- a very low cost, ecofriendly technique to preserve her scented rice from pests. This innovation comes to her mind as she now encounters more and more pests and maggots in her stored rice, due to untimely rain, moisture and increase in environmental temperature throughout the year. Once in her kitchen, she observed insects attack grains of Murhi faster than rice. Murhi or puffed rice being softer in constituency than the hard rice, have been the preferred target of insects and maggots. So she wanted to use her observation in preserving her scented rice from pests, insects and maggots. Other women folk generally use chemical pesticides to prevent such situations. These chemical pesticides are not only costly, poisonous; polluting environment but also alters the original aroma and taste of her rice. Even she does not use other traditional methods of using dried leaves of neem (Azadirachta indica) or negundo (Vitex negundo), lest it should alter the taste and flavor of her rice. In a bagful of rice she puts one –two kilo of puffed rice on the top and then sewed it and leaves it for months till next use. When she opens the bag, she finds maggots; insects attack the soft target murhi, and left her rice safe and intact. Now this practice is widely used by other women to preserve rice, pulses and other grains.Charulata and others are using this technology since last ten years, with success.    

 

 “Charulata”, an old wise lady
Loves to eat much rice,
Rice is her staple food
That keeps her health nice.

She gets her rice puffed
“Murhi” is the local name,
It is the popular countryside snack
The brand has its own fame.

She often puffs the rice
Her product is claimed as best,
It is also salted a bit
To give it a special taste.

Puffed rice are light
Eating them is easier,
She explains her research
How she uses “Murhi” further.

“Murhi” is the grain saver
Useful in many other ways,
She shares her innovations
How “Murhi” preserves grains
For long many days.

She stocks her dried grains
In jute bags she made,
Maggots often invade them
A lot of loss on her trade.

Simple solutions she finds
To preserve her rice well,
A layer of “Murhi” in every bag
Describes her novel tale.

Insects eat the soft “Murhi”
Never touch the grain,
Rice grains are left intact
What a beautiful brain!

 

 

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