In an attempt to provide more lucrative crops than Opium, Khunti District Administration has started working on extraction of oil from Lemongrass which fetches higher price for local farmers who recently started its cultivation in their land.
The District Administration with help of a non-government organization, Sewa Welfare Society in around 250 acres of lands in the District.
Khunti Deputy Commissioner, Shahshi Ranjan informed that the District Administration has chalked out plans to extract oil from the medicinal plant in the local area. The District Administration invited interested companies to start their venture in this field and it is expected that it will start very soon, he added.
Lemongrass is cultivated in around 250 acres of land in the district this year. An MoU has been signed between the District Administration and the Sewa Welfare Society to promote Lemongrass in 100 acres. Under this, plantation work of Lemongrass in 90 acres has been completed. At the same time, Lemongrass has been cultivated in about 150 acres through Sakhi Mandals by Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS).
After extensive cultivation of lemongrass, the district administration is now preparing to extract oil from lemongrass. For this, the district administration is in contact with many well-known companies of the Country.
Oil has been extracted from Lemongrass by the Seva Welfare Society adopting the method of making chulai from Mahua in Kojdong village under Kuda Panchayat of Murhu block of Khunti which was also started by JSLAPS. After observing the method of extracting oil by the tribals in Kozdong, JSLPS sent six persons from Khunti district to the Central Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Research Center to train them to improve this indigenous technique.
Sewa Welfare Society Chairman, Ajay Sharma informed that if this method is fully successful, the cultivation of lemongrass will bring a revolution in Jharkhand. .
“This year, Lemongrass cultivation has started in those villages where a large number of farmers used to cultivate poppy. The people of the village have now realized the tribal society that the Opium cultivation is hazardous for them,” said Sharma
Poppy cultivation has become a major curse for the district, which is giving rise to many crimes and putting the tribal society in danger. So far, more than 20 people have been sentenced by the Court of Khunti district for the crime of illegally cultivation of Opium. More than 250 people have been sent to jail for Opium cultivation.