Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol.01, Issue 14, 1995; Page No.(115-123)

PRINSEPIA UTILIS (BHENKEL) : A PROMISING WILD EDIBLE OIL SHRUB OF HIGHER HIMALAYAN. A CASE STUDY IN URGAM VALLEY OF GARHWAL HIMALAYA

R.K. MAIKHURI

Abstract

Prinsepia laths Royal locally called Blienkar is one of the under-utilized wild edible oil shrub. It is still being used as a substitute of edible oil in some remotest areas/villages of Garhwal Himalayan located between 1800-2500 m, where it was a chief source of edible oil before 1960s or 70s. The consumption of P. units oil declined sharply from those areas during early 1980s because of many reasons. The introduction of electric or diesal operated oil mills in some of these remotest areas has brought back a large scale extraction and consumption of this oil particularly in Urgam valley of Garhwal Himalaya. The present study indicates that the seed oil of P. utilis is the second major source of edible oil in the villages of Urgain valley. It contributes about 31.8% of the total edible oil. P. utilis seed oil consumption was found to be associated with altitude, household size, and economy of household. The oil is consumed in various ways and also has high medicinal values. The bushes of this plant have many other advantages such as fuelwood, erosion control and bio-fencing. June is the peak month to harvest seeds for oil extraction. The children age 9-15 spent much time collecting seeds whereas work related to seed processing for oil extraction is mainly done by adults. The total annual oil extracted from this plant in Urgam valley accounted to 4076 litre which is equivalent to Rs. 132048.00 (US S 4260) whereas, the total labour involved in this activity was estimated about Rs. 55012.00 (US % 1775) and the net return was obtained approximately Rs. 77035. 00 (US S 2485). The need for improvement in traditional seed processing and extraction techniques, analysis of its nutritional components and introduction of electric or diesel operated oil mills in the these areas for its large scale exploitation for economic development is also emphasized.

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