– Raksha Khanal

Since from long time, seed has been stored through indigenous way. Thus, indigenous traditional methods have become essential component of sustainable agriculture and it varies from region to region. In latest context, due to modernization, urbanization and the associated technology the indigenous technologies have been eroded and are not passed on to next generation.

Traditional practices are passed on from generations and are an outcome of elder’s wisdom and experience as a result of their close contact and deep knowledge of their environment (Prakash, 2016).

Traditional Seed storage structures

Seed storage is an important process in maintaining the viability and vigour of the seeds during storage period. Different storage structures are available based on the duration the seed storage. The traditional storage structures are ranging from bhakari, dalo, earthen pot, gunny bags  ,kotha, gourd.

1.Gourd

Construction process- Gourds are made from the hard dried outer skins of fruits from the members of squash or cucurbitaceae family (Fig 1). The process involves harvesting of matured gourds and removing the outer soft parts, cleaning and drying in a well ventilated area to avoid rotting and then sundried .After dried the top of gourd is chopped and the seeds and the fibrous materials inside the gourd are removed carefully and required seeds (grams, vegetables seeds) are stored covering with lids and are made air tight.

Gourds are normally kept indoor or under shelter and above the kitchen or places where they are not prone to insect infestation food grains (5-30) required for home consumption or planting for duration of six months to one year.

 

2.Bhakari

Constrution process-A woven bamboo mat rolled into a cylinder and placed on one end, on a mat (Fig 2). The base consists of rice straw smeared with cow dung. Bhakari may be large, medium or small depending upon the quantity of the grains to be stored. They may or may not have lids made of straw. They are plastered with cow dung or mud, which not only makes it waterproof but also inaccessible to rodents and insects ( Lamichaney, 2019)

It has a durability of about 4 to 5 years with careful maintenance. Paddy seeds are commonly stored in bhakari.

3.Kotha/Kothe

Constrution process-Kotha/Kothe is similar to bhakari but with the woven bamboo base. The circumference of this storage unit is plastered with mud lining or cow dung. Kotha/Kothe can be of various sizes (Fig 3), usually 3–4 ft in height with a capacity of holding about 1.5–2 q of seeds. It would normally take two to three days to weave a Kotha/Kothe of above mentioned height. After it is woven, the structure is smeared with cow dung or mud to seal the holes for safe storage of seed/grains.

Kotha/Kothe has a durability of about 3–4 years. Seed/grains of paddy, buckwheat, soybean are usually stored in kotha/kothe.

  1. Earthen pot

Construction process-Earthen pots are most commonly used in villages for storing seed and grains for consumption purpose (Fig 4). Earthen pots made of clay to a convenient size are used from olden days for storage purpose. Walls of the pots are coated with clay and the mouth of the pot is closed with stiff cow dung paste reinforced with cloth.

The pots were arranged one above other vertically in descending order based on of its size from bottom which reduces the space. Marking were also made on the pots for identification.

  1. Gunny bags

Gunny bags are used for storing seeds which is durable and inexpensive (Fig 5). They are easy to handle and it allows the circulation of air that keep the seeds cool. They can be stacked in the household area itself. No special storage area is required for storing in gunny bags. Dried bags are used for storing the seeds. Seeds can be protected from pest attack up to 4 months. After 4 months, seeds are to be dried and the bags are to be treated with neem kernel extract again. Capacity of the bag varies from 10-75 kgs.

6.Jhutta

Jhutta (in Nepali) literally means to tie in bunches. So anything that can be tied in bunches and stored are called Jhutta . This method of storage is commonly used in Gorkha for storing maize and occasionally garlic.

Constrution process-After the maize is harvested and dried, the husk of bunch of maize is shucked and tied together to make a jhutta. Traditionally, jhutta of 6–7 cobs are placed in an open structure made of bamboo poles and timber for further sundry and storage. Now a day, tin or straw roofs are being made over such structures to safeguard the cobs from rain.

7.Dalo

Construction process-Dalo is a small conical or circular shaped basket made out of bamboo (Fig. 7). The bamboo is thickly woven to ensure that grains remains intact inside it. Unlike Bhakari, it doesn’t require any plaster or mud/cow dung lining. Dalo is commonly found and used in every household of Gorkha.

It has the capacity of holding about 10–15 kg of grains/seeds. Dalo is often used for holding small quantities of threshed grain for milling or the milled product. Dalo are also used for storage of surplus grain when all major structures are filled.

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