A source of income in neem seeds

A source of income in neem seeds

Untapped

There is a season for the flowering of every tree and plant. The neem tree, for instance, flowers during the time when the festival of Chanramana Ugadi is celebrated and in June and early July the neem tree bears fruits.

The birds drop neem seeds to the ground which the women in the rural areas pick up and sell it. It helps them in getting an additional income.

The neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is a tropical evergreen tree native to India. It is known as “the village pharmacy” because of its healing versatility and its use in ayurveda.

Every part of the tree - the fruit, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and bark - have  medicinal properties. 

Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree and has insecticidal and medicinal properties and is used in pest control, cosmetics and medicines.

Neem seed cake (residue of neem seeds after oil extraction) when used for soil amendment or added to soil,  not only enriches the soil with organic matter but also lowers nitrogen losses by inhibiting nitrification.

Neem leaves are used to treat chickenpox and warts by directly applying to the skin in a paste form or by bathing in water with neem leaves. 

The leaves are taken internally in the form of neem capsules or made into a tea  to reduce fever caused by malaria. It treats various foot fungi and works against termites.

Neem leaves are also used in storage of grains.  

Twigs of neem are also used as toothbrushes. Neem (leaf and seed) extracts have been found to be spermicidal. 

Neem bark and roots also have medicinal properties. Bark and roots in powdered form are also used to control fleas and ticks on pets.  

Neem has anti-bacterial properties that help in fighting against skin infections such as acne, psoriasis, scabies and eczema. 

Neem oil, leaves and neem extracts are used to manufacture health and beauty care products.

Some of such products are soaps, bath powders, shampoos, lotions and creams, toothpastes, neem leaf capsules to increase immunity and as a skin purifier, insect repellents and pet care products.

“We pick the neem seed and dry them and sell them to those merchants who are engaged in extracting neem oil. Neem seed picking is generally an occupation in which women are engaged”, says Hanumakka of Kerekallahalli.

“We collect about four to five kgs of neem seeds every day. They are kept separately from other fruits. The seeds are throughly cleaned in water and remove the shell and is left to dry for two or three days. For nearly one week we are engaged in this activity and sell 50 to 100 kgs of seeds” she said.

In Hindupur and Doddaballapur a kilogram of neem seeds fetches Rs 30 to Rs 40.

However, in Gauribidanur and surrounding village a kg of neem seeds fetches only Rs 20.

Neem seeds are available only during June, July and August. Women and children go to the fields in the morning to collect seeds like neem, hinge and hippe. In recent times the numbers of neem trees have reduced.

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