Lac Farming: An Agro-based valuable Business

Lac Farming: An Agro-based valuable Business

Introduction- “Lac farming" is an agro-based valuable business, in which we raise Lac insects to produce Lac. To boost agricultural production, there are other businesses or industries in India, such as- Crop production, Horticultural production, Dairy production, poultry farming, etc., which support their participation to boost India's economy. One of them is "Lac farming", which we can establish from small to large scale and get profits of millions at the least cost. In Lac farming, a large number of Lac insects are reared, which gives us a large amount of Lac production. Lac cultivation is such a cultivation, which we can rear Lac insects on them by planting host trees on the edges of infertile land or fields. This is a business that delivers the most benefits at the least cost; we can easily develop this business with any other business. If we talk about production of Lac, then the major producer of Lac in the world is India because 70% of the world Lac is produced by India. India ranks first in the production of Lac. Most of the Lac is produced in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh regions in the country. The Lac is mainly the second profitable insect after honeybee and silkworm, which benefits the entire human race, because Lac obtained from Lac insect helps in making more useful material in various aspects used in human life and increase the availability of Lac. If we talk about ancient times, Lac is being used in the era of Kauravas and Pandavas of Mahabharata, but if we talk about today, our country rather the whole world is using Lac. Different varieties of Lac are being produced in India, and from which different types of needy items are being manufactured. In view of this demand, farmers are showing their interest in Lac farming and are moving towards Lac cultivation, due to which the farmers are benefiting more. In today's time, if we want to get more income along with crop production, we can opt for business related to Lac farming. And we can boost the income of the Farmers by advising them about the business related to agriculture, and at the same time we can increase the economy of our country.

Why should we do Lac Cultivation?

•    A good source of livelihood resource for poor farmers, Avoids migration of rural population to urban areas.
•    Assures source of income during drought years.
•    Most suitably grown on marginal and degraded land.
•    No competition with other horticultural, agricultural crops for land and farm operation.
•    Do not harm host tree health both other flora and fauna.
•    It is a women friendly business.
•    Ideal Programme for the Weaker Section of the Society.
•    It provides maximum return on minimum investment.
•    Eco-Friendly Activity.

What is Lac?

Lac is the valuable resin secreted from the resin glands present in the abdomen of Lac insects. The secretion of Lac begins immediately after the larval settlement on the new and tender shoots. The Lac insect feed on the sap of certain plants and continuously secretes the resin a protective covering throughout its life. The Lac glands open on the dorsal surface of the body through various holes. The Resin glands are distributed all over the body except mouth part, two breathing pores and anus. This secretion appears first as a shining layer which soon gets hardened after coming in contact with air.

Economic importance of Lac culture-

•    Lac is used in preparing Bangles.
•    Lac is used as a filling material for gold ornaments.
•    Lac is used in preparation of toys.
•    Lac is used in preparation of inks and polishes.
•    Lac is mostly used as sealing wax and adhesive for optical instruments. 
•    Lac is used in wood work and for making ornamental thinks.
•    Lac is use in processing of silvering the back of mirror.
•    Lac is largely used in electric industry, as it is a good insulator.
•    Lac is used in laminating paper board, photographs, and moulded articles.

Life cycle Lac insect- Three developmental stages are found in its life cycle like- Egg, Nymph and adult. The eggs are laid by female in the Lac -cell.  It lays about 200- 500 eggs which may be fertilized or unfertilized. Both types of eggs give birth to male and female nymph. An individual egg is 0.4 mm X 0.2 mm long and pinkish in color which changes in to brown after sometimes.  The female generally lays well developed eggs which hatch within a few hours. The nymph is predominantly pink in color, which is 0.6 mm X 0.25 mm long in size. This consists of a pair of antennae, three pair of legs, two compound eyes and six anal sets. The nymphs emerge in large numbers and crawl over the surface of twigs and branches of plants in search of suitable pieces for settlement. They mostly settle on shoots gregariously. Once settled, the nymph thrusts its proboscis into the bark of the twig and does not move from its place. after one or two days of settling, they start secreting resin from glands distributed under the cuticle all over the body, except near the mouth parts, the two breathing pores and the anus. Thus the nymphs gets incased in a cell of its secretion which increases in size with the growth of the insect. Nymphs molt three times before reaching maturity and after one molt the nymph loses his eye, leg and antennae, only the anal set becomes 10 instead of six. Adult males are pinkish-red colored insects. 

Host plants of Lac- Palas, Ber, Kusum, Ghont, Jallari, Arher, Pipal, and Babul are main host tree for   the rearing of Lac insects.

Lac Cultivation- In India, mainly two crops of Lac are taken, which are called Kusumi and Rangeni. Each strain produces two crops in a year, thus there are four crops. Of which, 90% of the total production in the country comes from Rangani crops and only 10% from Kusumi crops. The crop is produced in small quantities through Kusumi, but in terms of quality, Kusumi is the best. The production of all these crops is given below. Which is as follows -Baisakhi crop - 2,90,600 quintals, Katki crop - 1,13,200 quintals, Flax crop - 34,200 quintals and Jethvi -15,500 quintals.

Conclusion- There is many types of forests in India, in which many types of precious trees are found, which are used in many industrial ways. If these trees are used for Lac culture, then sufficient amount of employment and income can be obtained. Generally, the condition of village level farmers is very pathetic. If they follow Lac insects on the host tree instead of cutting the trees at the village level itself, then the situation can change, because the host trees are trees which have no adverse effect on nature. Therefore, Lac insects can be easily reared on these trees. Lac cultivation is such a cultivation, which we can rear Lac insects on them by planting host trees on the edges of infertile land or fields. Also, wood biomass obtained after scraping Lac is used as fuel by rural people. Lac culture has great potential to provide an alternative means, which can become the main means of livelihood of the people of rural areas.

Anand Rao Azad
Assistant Professor
School of Agriculture
SAGE University, Bhopal