The lac desk is coordinated by RCDC because of its pioneering experiences in the lac sector. The desk plans the following interventions during the period of 2013-15:
- Promotion of lac cultivation for vulnerable communities at 4 sites
- Commercial manufacturing of alta (lac dye for cosmetic use) initiated through 2 women’s groups
- Study on the other resins/oleoresins to explore a possible value chain development through the same.
Accordingly RCDC has promoted lac cultivation in the disadvantaged and Maoist-infested Sunabeda plateau of Odisha state by supporting 25 poor beneficiaries belonging to the Paharia and Choktia-Bunjia tribes. The support has been primarily in the form of quality lac brood, alongwith necessary technical orientation. RCDC is considering similar support in few other areas of the state.
Commercial manufacturing of alta by women’s groups is pending chiefly because Indian Institute of Natural Resins & Gums, which has developed the formulation of pure alta(sacred red dye prepared from lac) based on RCDC’s request, is still in the process of further improving the formulation after RCDC’s trials suggested for further improvement in the quality. The technology transfer by the Institute to the women’s groups under RCDC’s facilitation would be possible after this qualitative upgradation.
RCDC has conducted a preliminary study on an important oleoresin of India, the sal resin. The field studies revealed that the production of this resin has been substantially reduced during the last 10 years chiefly, whereas market studies found adjustment of the gap in the supply of local sal resin by imported resin(which seems to be from another species of Shorea) of relatively poor quality from South-East Asia. Another interesting finding is the degeneration of the traditional value added product of sal resin, popularly known as chua oil.
RCDC is trying to explore the dynamics related to some other important oleoresins of India.