There is a popular saying in Balrampur in the neighboring district of Purulia in India, “Don’t get married, give a saffron tree.” Why not, a mature tree can change the economic infrastructure of a family. The way is to grow lac on that tree. Cultivation of best quality lacs is possible from saffron trees. Even if there is no saffron tree, lac can be grown successfully in the kul tree around the house.
According to researchers, lac is used in at least 100 different applications, including sealing, crafting, welding, gramophone records, wood polish or varnish, cosmetic glue, printing, and the silk textile industry. The country’s annual demand for lakhs is about 10 thousand metric tons. But, the maximum production in the country is 1 thousand metric tons. Of which only Chapainawabganj produces about 200 metric tons.
Although a potential cash crop; The number of lakhs of farmers is decreasing day by day due to various reasons including non-availability of prices. The number of areas under cultivation is also shrinking. As a result demand increases; Production is declining. However, researchers say, if cultivation is increased, the golden days of lakhs will return.
Lakhs have been a significant export product of the country since ancient times. Its uses are manifold and expensive. But now the good days of lac farming are gone. Research says that at one time in different parts of the country including Chapainawabganj, apart from saffron and plum, lac was cultivated in the gardens of Palash khair, acacia, shirish, fig, curry etc.; This industry is facing various crises now. Which is now limited to two areas of the district. Currently, those who are doing it are making chanch, tikiya and gala by cultivating lac and processing the released lac to keep the property of father and grandfather.
Although lac is a profitable and promising crop, farmers say they are losing interest due to adverse effects of weather, non-availability of improved seeds, problems in marketing, non-availability of prices and lack of full cooperation from researchers. However, due to the good demand and price of lacs in the current market; Keeping in mind the demand, the farmers want government assistance in lac cultivation.
Enamul Haque, a seventy-four-year-old lakhs farmer, is a heroic freedom fighter of Kanyanagar village in Nachol upazila. He said, “The farmers of my country do not get fair price” because of the loss of good days of lakhs. Due to which it has lost interest in cultivation. The people of this country are greedy. They do it for ten bucks; But laha coming from India is reducing the price of laha in Bangladesh. Farmers in India are getting the right price. Their government buys it and stores it. Moreover, those who are working with lakhs in Chapainawabganj. They don’t just show how to do it in the lab and keep track. Moreover, the interest of the farmers in cultivating this cash crop will increase if they get government support.
Ismail Hossain, a resident of the same area, has cultivated a lac tree named Semialta for the first time. He said, 13th century land has not yielded after cultivating lakhs. The main reason for this is not getting the seeds at the right time.
Meanwhile, the price and demand increased; Lakh cultivation is decreasing in tandem. Lakhs of researchers are blaming unscientific behavior of mango farmers, imports from India and lack of market system for this. They say, the amount of plum trees in the country; If it is planned and brought under lac cultivation, it is possible for the country to become self-sufficient and export abroad.
Former Chief Scientific Officer of Laksha Research Center in Chapainawabganj is the only one in the country. Mukhlesur Rahman said, if cultivation is increased with demand, the golden days of lakhs will return. For this reason, initiatives should be taken to extend government support and agriculture department to farmers.
Senior Scientific Officer (SSO) of Laksha Research Center in Chapainawabganj. Kazi Nazrul Islam said that there is no activity of the agriculture department in the expansion of Laksha. No initiative has ever been taken for the development of lakhs of farmers. Lakhs are not cultivated like that now. The needs of lakhs are being met by bringing from outside. Therefore, the amount of cultivation should be increased at the farmer level. We are trying to get farmers interested in cultivation through semialtar (sem plant). We continue to do so. We have already started cultivation with saplings and lac seeds in various villages of Shibganj and Nachol upazilas of the district.
What is the role of Chapainawabganj Agricultural Extension Directorate to bring back the golden days of Laksha? If you want to know about that, the deputy director of agriculture Dr. Palash Sarkar said, Lakhs farming is decreasing over time. The reasons for this are – decline in plum cultivation, heavy use of pesticides in various crops, lack of government incentives and training to farmers related to lac cultivation. However, there are some activities under the Rajshahi Agricultural Development Scheme. But due to lack of skilled manpower over lakhs, this activity cannot be managed in that way. If trained farmers can be produced here. Lakhs can be exhibited well with them. Then there is a possibility of hope for the good day of lakhs.
The survey of Laksha Research Center says that at one time only 700 to 800 metric tons of lacs were cultivated in Chapainawabganj district. At present, from the lac trees that are available in the district, about 500 metric tons of lac can be produced annually. Although it is possible to provide employment to 20 thousand landless marginal farmers, the present condition of lac farming is disappointing.