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Socio-economic Profile of Bay Leaf Farmers (project Area)

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Health services

Nongtrai has one dispensary, the only Primary Health Centre (PHC) is located at Lawbah which cater the needs of the other villages. There is one Vet nary office at Lawbah. A 20 bedded Community Health Centre (CHC) is in Mawsynram which provide 24hours medical emergency with a medical practitioner.


The Meghalaya Rural Bank (Bank Nongkyndong) had a branch at Lawbah, which is the only banking facility in the project area. The nearest State Bank of India (SBI) is in Mawsynram. About 80% of the villagers of the project area are having a Bank account with Meghalaya Rural bank.

Economic status

From amongst the bay leaf farmers there are about 30 to 40% who are Below Poverty Line (BPL) category. The mean average annual income of the sample household in the seven villages is about Rs 90,000 to 100,000.

Size of the family

On an average each family consist of seven members, with an average of 2 adult male, 3 adults female and 2 children.

Literacy rate

Basic primary level is the general education of the farmers, many of them have completed their matriculation, pre university education and some of them had completed the graduation level. Children’s of the sample households are all studying in school and colleges and for those who had completed their Secondary and Higher level, parents are supporting them for higher studies in the college and university level. Higher education rate of the adult’s female is 47.8% which is higher than that of adult’s male which 35.6%. Literacy is highest amongst the children which are about 98%.

Land holding

From the study it was found that 67% of the sample respondents are having farmland of more than four hectares, 24% of them are having farmland which is less than three hectares and the remaining 9% are having farmland which is less than two hectares.

Significance of bay leaf

Cinnamomum Tamala (bay leaf) is known as Tejpata in Hindi and Latyrpat in the local Khasi language. C-Tamala is a high value product and a species of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants which belongs to the Order-Laurales, Genus-Cinnamomum, Family Lauraceae and the Species-C-Tamala. There are about 270 species which grow naturally in tropical and sub tropical Asia, Australia pacific region and South Asia. In India the species it is found along the North Western Himalaya, in Sikkim, Assam, Mizoram and Meghalaya. C Tamala is a moderate sized evergreen tree, when fully grown the tree can reached up to 25ft to 30ft in height and 4.5 to 5ft in sized . The bark of the tree is smooth light pinkish brown with a thickness of about 10 mm, with a strong pleasant cinnamon smell and a spicy burning taste. The flowering time of the plant is from May to July, and the ripening times of the fruits are during the month of August and September. C Tamala is a hardy plant that can grow in all type of soil condition, either semi dry or wet. The ideal temperature for the plants is between 25o C to 30o C and the amount of rain is between 1250 to 2000 mm. The quality of the leaves is greatly influence by soil condition and a bright sunny weather during the drying time. The best qualities of leaves are from plants that grow on white siliceous sandy soil with ph level of 5.5 .

The Indian bay leaf (C Tamala) is an important species of MAPs, which is available in the wild and it is being cultivated by the farmers in their farm land, it is a commodity that meets the requirement of rural specific products to inter into regional, national and global value chain. The demand for bay leaf in the State regulated market at Mawiong is more than 3000-4000 metric tonnes annually which is increasing year by year . The leaves of C Tamala are a much used spices by peoples all over the world since ancient time, the essential oils (Potential for local value addition) that is extracted from the leaves (tejpat oil) is used in food flavour, in pharmaceutical preparation because of its hypoglycaemic stimulant and carminative properties, and also in the Indian system of traditional medicine of various Ayurvedic formulations . Containing medicinal property, and as an ingredient of the spices the demand of Cinnamomum Tamala (bay leaves) keeps on increasing year by year. Therefore it is important that the species be planted in a large scale (commercialisation) by the farmers with proper and appropriate management plans.

Cinnamomum Tamala (bay leaf) plant is one of the most important MAP and NTFP of the State of Meghalaya especially of East Khasi Hills District with locally ready market. The plant (Bay leaf) is well suited in our tropical and sub tropical humid region, and it grows naturally in the wild in association with a variety of other trees and shrubs, thus forming an integral component of the rich biodiversity of the state. In areas where intensive plantation is in place, it was considered to be ecologically sound as it’s grown in poly culture along with betel nut, betel leaf, jack fruit, timber trees and a host of shrubs and herbs. Therefore the species had for over the years emerged as one of the commodity that provides supplementary income that meets the requirement of rural populations.

Market demand and pricing of the leaves depends upon the quality (visual colour, moisture percentage, smell of the leaf and its dryness, light green leaves are the best quality) and its availability. The bay leaves from Meghalaya are exported to all over the country and to Bangladesh, where it is exported through Dawki and Balat. Marketing channel and pricing of the bay leaf is not organised properly and it is complicated as it has to pass through a long chain of traders and dealers before it reaches the consumers.

C Tamala (Bay leaf) is a notified forest product of the State Government, therefore royalty and taxes are imposed by the Syiem (Traditional institution), the Autonomous District Council (Local Authority) and the State Government when the product is traded. The State Government collect taxes at two levels (1) purchase tax from the grower and (11) sale tax when it is sold to the trading agency . Therefore trading of bay leaf had immensely contributed toward revenue earning by these institutions.

Uses of Cinnamomum Tamala (Bay Leaf)

(a) In culinary

The leaves of C Tamala are used as a spice in the local and regional culinary. The oils obtained from the leaves and the bark possesses the aroma of the spice and a sweet pungent tastes, the oil is used in flavouring industry, in meat and fast foods seasonings, and as a preservatives in sauces, pickles, baked goods, confectionary, cola type drinks, tobacco flavour, and in dental and pharmaceutical preparation .

Tejpat leaves are also used as a natural food preservative for pineapples juice .

(b) In medicinal preparation

The oils obtained after steam distillation of the leaves (essential oils) is known as Tejpat oil, it contained medicinal properties which is medicinally used in carminative, anti-flatulent, diuretic, and in cardiac disorder .

Ayurveda describes the used of leaves of tejpata in the treatment of ailment such as anorexia, bladder disorder, dryness of mouth, coryza diarrhoea and nausea . C Tamala are also used in many Ayurvedic preparations e.g. Surdarshan Choorna and Chandraprabhavati, the leaves extracts are used as clarifiers in dyeing procedures, traditionally green dye has been extracted from the leaves .

Cinnamomum Tamala possess antibacterial activity due to the presence of certain phenolic compound such as cinnamic aldehyde and such as eugenol and cinnamic acid

Bay leaf sector in East Khasi Hills

C-Tamala (Bay leaf) is a species of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPS), whose leaves are used as a condiment etc. The leaves of the plant are the most important commercial Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) of the District with locally available market, and a demand of more than 15,000 metric tons (MECOFED) annually, it is ranks first among the list of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) produce and commercialized in the State.

Maximum production of bay leaves are from the war area of east Khasi and Jaintia Hills district which contributed about 80% of the total production of the whole state. The average production of bay leaf ranges between 5000-6000 kg/H/harvest (Tiwari and Tynsong 2004). The average annual production for the whole state ranges between 6300 to 8500MT according to the check gate of the Autonomous district Council located at Byrnihat and Beruberi (Bajendoba). In the years from 2004 to 2006 around 8200 to 8700MT of bay leaf was transported out of Meghalaya, which is more than the production data (Table 2) KHADC. From the table it showed that there is an increased in the production of bay leaf over a period of ten years. The total revenue received by the difference agencies like the District council, the Syiem (Traditional institution) and the State Government (MECOFED) account to more than Rs 5 million per annum.

In the project area harvesting and production of bay leaves started in the month of December to march, with a monthly average production of 9000 to 10000 gunny bags, which will be around 1200000 kg to 1500000kg annually. With the selling price of about Rs 20 to 25/kg the total money will be around Rs 2,40,00,000 to 3,00,00,000 lakhs annually. The main bay leaves producing villages in the project area are Sinai, Mawlongbna and Lawbah, and the least is Nongtrai village. From an hectare of farm land the farmers would produce about 4950-5000 kg or about 110 to 120 gunny bags of bay leaves in a year with an earning profit of about Rs 68,800 to 70,000/year.

Production and Management of Bay Leaf

In the slope of the Riwar area of Meghalaya, in the seven villages of the project area of the East Khasi Hills District, C-Tamala (bay leaf) species are best suited and its grow well in abundantly either in the wild or in the farmland. In the last three decayed the peoples of the project area had opted to grow bay leaf plants in their farmland and slowly it’s become their main livelihood activity. The reasons for the peoples to switch to this new initiative, was that, the leaves are marketable product, caring and management of the plants is easier, and it’s like any other trees that grow in the wild, its flowered and regenerated its branches and leaves seasonally less depending on seasonal rainfall, and its less prune to diseases.

Bay leaf production is a profitable activity when compared with the other NTFPs. Planting of the seedling is usually begins from the month of May, June, July and August while the moon is small. For seedlings some farmers have developed their own private nurseries, while others they have to collect from the nearby forest. Planting and management of the plant is simple it doesn’t require any artificial fertilizer, pesticides or any other form of manure. Watering and weeding of the plants is necessary in first three four years when the plants are still young.

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