Core 2 of DST SEED Supported core program
1. Promotion of medicinal plants in Wayanad district
The herb-based healthcare system in Kerala has got wide popularity and there is growing demand for primary healthcare products. A program aiming at promoting primary health care traditions through conservation and sustainable use of a set of common me¬dicinal plants has been designed and being implemented by MSSRF. The programme emphasis on raising the economic status of women belonging to marginalized sections and thereby improving their livelihoods by undertaking preparation, consumption and sale of herbal formulations of nutritive and cosmetic value. Expenses on medical care of family are observed to be reduced by adopting primary healthcare practices, which in turn results in indirect savings.
As an up-scaling step of this, a small-scale herbal production unit has been established in Wayanad district. A group titled as Navachaithanya herbal initiative with 10 women members of Pozhuthana Panchayath, Wayanad is responsible for running the herbal unit.
The Navachaithanya Herbal Production unit produces and markets ten different value-added herbal products either in powder or in liquid form viz. Herbal tooth powder, Thali powder (herbal shampoo), henna powder, thaleesapathradichoornam, pain balm, arrowroot powder, uragulika (gastro tablet), Murivenna (multipurpose oil) karkidakalehya and turmeric powder. The electric drier and pulverizer which were provided to the unit helps to reduce the drudgery involved and the time required for the processing of raw materials.
2. Promotion of Ginger in Wayanad district
Ginger being a potential crop is largely cultivated and traded in raw form in Wayanad district, Kerala. Even though viable technologies are available for value addition of ginger, there are very few ginger processing units existed in the district, which are the small-scale units making basic products like ginger mixed sweets. And there is high demand for ginger-based products in the local as well as regional markets of Malabar (North Kerala). At this juncture, MSSRF had explored the scope for disseminating proven technologies of value addition of ginger for establishing a women SHG led production unit with the help of the core support from SEED Division of DST, Govt of India.
One of the drawbacks identified in processing raw ginger was the difficulty in washing and peeling of its uneven rhizomes. So MSSRF had come forward to establish a small-scale unit with improved peeling machine, a slicer and few value-added products.
The available technology of ginger peeling device was adopted for the value addition unit with slight modification. The machine consisted of a cylindrical vessel with rubber bushes provided within to rub off the skin from the uneven rhizomes. The inner portion of the peeling machine was provided with one more layer of stainless-steel sheet with perforations that could further enhance the process of peeling the skin from ginger rhizome. Thus, the machine takes only 15 minutes to get thoroughly washed and peeled ginger using electrical power, processing up to 5 kg of ginger at a time.
According to the women who are engaged in ginger processing, the modified ginger peeling machine and slicer has enhanced the efficiency and quality of work; by saving their time by 50% and have considerably reduced the drudgery of the members when compared to doing the peeling and washing work by hand.
MSSRF has also provided skill training and necessary orientation to the women group members in producing value added products viz., Ginger tea cuts, Ginger candy, Ginger paste, Ginger-garlic paste, Ginger tamarind mix, Ginger mixed muesli, Dried ginger powder and Dried ginger slice. Now the women members undertake production and marketing of these eight ginger-based products. Additionally, the unit is attempting production of different value-added products from banana, mango, papaya and jackfruit during the off season of ginger crop.
- A small-scale herbal value addition unit established in Wayanad district, with a group consisting of 10 women (Navachaithanya Herbal unit)
- Four seminars on the cultivation, conservation, consumption and commerce aspects of medicinal plants;
- ‘Oushadhajyothi 2017’ A two-day ethno-taxonomy workshop organized at the centre for 52 selected traditional healers of Malabar region,
- A total of 54,500 seedlings of 35 species of medicinal plants raised and distributed to the needy farmers there by extending the cultivation into roughly 60 Acres both as mono and intercrops.
- A total of 13 trainings for revitalizing the primary healthcare practices at selected localities.
- Strengthening of the existing home herbal gardens with 500 seedlings of 20 no of seedlings.
- Herbal gardens in 13 schools in Wayanad and Malappuram districts.
- Validation of ethno-veterinary practices pertaining to mastitis initiated in collaboration with the Department of Pharmacology, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.
- Phytochemical profiling of Cipadessa baccifera, Hopea parviflora, Celastrus paniculatus and Ampelocissus indica with the support of CSIR-NIIST, Thiruvananthapuram
- One ginger value addition unit (‘Ardrakam Women Organic Ginger Initiative’) established at Pulpally, Wayanad, with 10 members for running the unit and one farmer group with 50 women members for production of organic ginger raw materials.
- Adoption of available technology of peeling and slicing of ginger with slight modifications.
- A total of 1100 kg of ginger seed material was distributed to the groups for organic cultivation.