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Seed ball experiment planned in parched Purulia

The seed ball technique is very old and is believed to have been used in ancient Egypt on farms after the annual flooding of the Nile.

Statesman News Service | Purulia |

The state’s first pilot project for spreading seed balls on barren land as an innovative measure to boost the green cover in Purulia district will be launched by the forest department during the Van Mahotsav week very shortly. The first pilot project is coming up in Kotsila Forest Range under Purulia Forest Division.

Women self help groups have been trained for making and spreading the seed balls. Purulia is known as a parched district and the rainfall has been very lean so far this monsoon.

Due to acute water crisis the efforts towards social forestry do not always succeed in a district like Purulia and normal saplings plantation programmes frequently fail. Two self help groups have been making about 40,000 seed balls so far.

Soma Sarkar Das, ranger of Kotsila Forest range said, that already one month has passed but still there are no signs of monsoon. Hence it is not clear when the social forestation work can be started.

“We had planned to spread seed balls for massive afforestation projects in the barren lands of Purulia. Charcoal powder is mixed with soil and made into small balls and in each ball there will be three small seeds. The seeds will go inside the soil after the ball mixes and germination will take place,”she added.

This process is known as associated succession. In social forestry, the ground is dug and the saplings are planted at stipulated distances.

Later the seed ball project will also be introduced in the Ayodhya forests range. The seeds of sonajhuri, neem, jamun, tamarind, bael, dates etc are being used in the seed balls.

School students will spread the seed balls in the barren lands during the van mahotsav programme in the state.

Seed ball forestry is quite common in Karnataka, Kerala, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan and has been first carried out in Tamil Nadu in 1987.

In Karnataka’s famous Bandipur Tiger Reserve, seeds balls have been spread and fresh green cover generated successfully by the forest department.

The percentage of forest cover to total surface area is 30.6 globally, while in India it is about 24.39 per cent.

As per India’s National Forest Policy the country should have atleast 33 per cent or one-third green cover.

The seed ball technique is very old and is believed to have been used in ancient Egypt on farms after the annual flooding of the Nile. The seed ball sowing method is also considered to be more cost effective than other methods.