1st day pra
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Brief Report on Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA)
conducted at Benakanakatti
An effort was made to understand the status of millet cultivation, the extent of utility of the
minor millets now and three decades earlier by the rural community n in the village Benakatti of
Dharwad district through Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). A team (annexure 1) headed by
Dr. Prakash Bhat interacted with the residents of Benakatti village for three non consecutive
days on 2nd, 15th and 29th September, 2012. The head master of the high school of Benakatti
was kind enough to provide space for us to conduct this important exercise. The details on the
outcomes of these valuable discussions are narrated here below.
Discussions held on first day (2nd September, 2012):
During the discussions, a group of 9 men and 10 women from the village (annexure 2) were
present for interaction with the team. This group of 19 consisted mainly of the farmers and
farm women. Mr. Anand Chougula, the field officer. SCOPE welcomed the gathering and Dr.
Prakash Bhat set the context by explaining about millets and the purpose of the teams visit to
The participants shared the following information.
In Benakatti, paddy is the main crop since this village is almost on the border of the malnad
belt. Cowpea, Sunflower, Mung, Soybean and Jowar occupy the subsequent positions on the
Benakatti farmers fields.
The participants were shown the photographs of the millet crops Jowar, Ragi, Bajra, Savi
(little millet), Navane (foxtail millet). The participants informed the team that these were part of
their agriculture but said they never grew the other two Haraka (Kodo millet) and Baragu
(Proso millet) even before three decades. They were then requested to rank the cultivation of
millets 25 years back. Jowar, Ragi, Navane, Bajra and Savi were the millets that occupied the
1st to 5th rank respectively.
Millets consumed and recipes:
They consumed jowar, ragi, savi, navane, bajra in that order which means that they the crops
thar grew more were consumed more.
Varieties, yield and marketing:
i) Jowar: Local varieties were grown earlier. Nandyal white (Biligoni) and Nandyal
black (Karigoni), Gattibeeja were predominantly cultivated. During Kharif, Neerajola
variety was mixed with ground nut. While Nandyal and Gattibeeja were of 5-6
months duration, Neerajola was harvested in 3 months. At present jowar occupies
around 25% of the total cultivated area. Chowri variety of Jowar was invariably used
to prepare corns. Now hybrid jowar dominates the farms. Farmers shared that over
the last two decades the extent of hybrid jowar cultivation rose slowly.
Jowar was consumed more and sold less. It was sold only when it was cultivated
more. This happened more often in kharif only. Villagers exchanged jowar with other
crop produces and materials.
ii) Ragi: White ragi (Dundu ragi) and red ragi were grown 25 years back. Ragi survived
even if a couple rains failed. Farmers never sold ragi, which was used only for self
iii) Savi: Kari savi and Mallige savi were grown. Since last six years, the participants
said, savi is not being grown. Savi yielded on an average 10 quintals per acre. The
growers consumed it and never sold it.
iv) Navane: Halu Navane and Hurupalu navane varieties were being cultivated. The
former is white in colour and has no hairs on it where as the latter has hard grains
and has hairs.
v) Bajra: Local bajra varieties were being cultivated which were slowly displaced by
the hybrids albeit partially. Some aged farmers said they had also seen red bajra and
white bajra types being cultivated.
The recipes they prepared 25 years back from jowar were roti, nuchchu (bits),
ambali (porridge), Bana (bits mixed with curds or butter milk and then cooked),
Kichdi, balls, Chakli, Sandige, Vada, sweet cake (kadubu), etc. They consumed the
tender stalks of jowar just like the sugarcane. Also the tender grains of jowar on the
earhead were separated and the burnt tender grains were consumed as Sihitene or
belasi. The grains were soaked and seasoned and the vegetable called usali was
consumed. During drought. Most of these recipes find place in todays diet as well
despite jowar is not being cultivated to the extent it was 25 years back.The villagers
consumed jowar and ragi porridge.
ii) Ragi: Ragi rotis, sweet cakes, ragi balls, porridge and ganji (pudding) were
consumed. Right now, ragi porridge has remained as a part of their diet to a larger
extent than the other recipes. It is invariably fed to the babies even now.
iii) Savi: Villagers consumed idli, savi rice, uppittu, rotis. They believed that savi rice
gave lot of strength and if consumed ensured people did not feel hungry for long
time. Savi was ground and pounded and then mixed with rice, milk and jaggery and
sweet pudding (payasa) was prepared.
iv) Navane: Navane rice, hurakki holige, chakli, uppittu, laddu were prepared. Now
laddus are prepared from rice flour. Also navane floor was mixed in milk whole
v) Bajra: Rotis, Kichdi, Bana are prepared
Millets as fodder:
i) Jowar: Especially, the Nandyal variety of jowar was fed to the cattle.
ii) Ragi: Eldest participant farmers said they used to feed the cattle with ragi bran only
during summer and not during rainy season since the cattle found it hard to grind
the fodder in the latter season.
iii) Savi: In fact the cattle liked savi fodder more than ragi or jowar. Savi was used to
cover the fodder stack since it did not hold rain water and drained off, thus
protecting the fodder within.
iv) Navane: Navane fodder was fed to the cattle 25 years back. Now since its
cultivation is almost scarce, fodder is also not available. Navane, lie in many other
villages is a medicine for cough (kirunalige). The bone fractures are also treated by
using navane. Navane flour mixed with cactus milk is pasted on the fractured part of
patients body. The patients were offered navane recipes more to facilitate quick
healing. The elder participants in the group were not so happy when they shared
that the youngsters of the village go straight to the clinics for treatment now a days
and that they seldom listen to the elders advices. An interesting practice was
shared which is seen during Deepavali festival. The navane plants are burnt and the
cattle are made to walk on the burning plants. People believe that this brings good
health for the cattle and prosperity to the family.
v) Bajra: The fodder was fed to the cattle 25 years back before they were milked. The
cattle were also fed bajra boiled in water for 15 consecutive days after they deliver
calf. This practice increased the milk yield. Thus we came to know that the farmers
knew bajra was a galactogogue. Now since bajra is not at all grown, all the above
are not seen to be practiced.
Festivals, religious and other special occasions:
i) Jowar: Jowar stalks were also part of the pooja materials. The earheads of jowar
were tied to the festoons (torana).during the Mahanavami festival. The seed drills
were worshipped using jowar sweet cakes. During another important festival, Naga
Panchami, the jowar corn were prepared and consumed. During especially the
naming ceremony, the soaked jowar grains were cooked and consumed as Guggari.
Also during marriages jowar occupies an important place, where the women poured
the grains into the pouch made by other women by folding their saree at waist
height which is locally called Udi Tumbuvudu. During marriages, the villagers had a
ritual called haasakki hoyyuvudu, in which, joear grains will be showered upon the
bride and the bride groom who will be seated on a blanket (made of sheep wool).
Jowar along with maize and paddy are important grains used during Dasara festival.
During Deepavali, the villagers prepare a small nest like structure using the leaves of
jowar and other crops and keep a lamp inside and then visit 5 houses to perform
Arati at their houses to the God. From Sheege Hunnime (Full moon day) to
Amavasya (new moon day) they also worship the cattle using this.
During Dasara, 5 types of seedlings are grown even now maize, jowar, wheat,
bajra,Navane which suggests that out of the five, 3 were and are millets.
ii) Navane: During Sheege Hunnime and Kanahabba, the villagers prepare sweet
pudding using navane which is popularly called Hurakki Holige. For preparing this
recipe they used hurupalu variety of navane. This practice is found to be existent
even now. People buy navane to prepare this recipe if they dont have it.
i) Jowar: The patients suffering from jaundice were usually given sorghum bits
(nuchchu) along with buttermilk. This practice is prevalent even now. In case of
injuries, only recipes of jowar are given even now. Even during difficult deliveries,
jowar roti , kichdi are given to the women along with little wheat avoiding rice
ii) Ragi: Ragi was consumed when people suffered from loose motion or dysentery.