Indegenous post harvest management technologies

M.Natarajan and Santha Govind

The hilly communities of Kalrayan hills in Tamil Nadu,  India, have predominantly tribal population who depend largely on agriculture and livestock. In this area, the tribal women are in close contact with agro-ecological system in which they live and upon which they depend for survival by adoption of many indigenous post harvest techniques. The tribal women are also rich in traditional knowledge. Following are some of the indegenous post harvest management techniques followed by the tribal women which are also found to be cost effective.

  1. The harvested millets seeds are mixed with wet ash.  After thorough mixing, the seeds are dried.  The purpose is to control the storage pests.
  2. Dried chillies are crushed and mixed with cut pieces of lemon and ash.  This mixture is mixed with millet seeds kept for storage.  It is observed that the pungent smell of chillies and the acidity of lemon resist the attack of the storage pests.  Thus, the millet seeds are kept away from storage pests.
  3. Cereal grains are stored in tall mud pots or bins, which are popularly called as “Kudhirs”.  These mud pots are made up of clay soils and plant fibers.  The height ranges from 1 to 3 meters.  An opening is there with one side on the bottom, which enables the tribal farmwomen to draw the grains from kudhir whenever needed. There are normally 1 to 3 kudhirs in each house depending on the requirements.
  4. Neem leaves and neem tips are kept along with cereal grains like paddy, ragi etc.  This practice is done to prevent the attack by storage pests.  The pungent smell of neem leaves also reduces the pest attack.
  5. Nochi (vitex negundo) leaves are kept along with the cumbu seeds during storage to prevent the occurrences of pests.  The pungent smell of nochi leaves resists the pest attack.
  6. Paddy seeds are mixed with the ipomea leaves, which act as pest repellent.  This aids to control storage pests.
  7. Pulse seeds are stored in salted gunny bags to resist the storage pests.
  8. Red soil is mixed with pulse seeds and kept in a separate place for storage.  It helps to prevent the attack by storage pests.
  9. Banana bunches are soaked in hot water immediately after harvest and then the harvested bunches are arranged in compact manner inside small dark rooms.  Smoke is produced inside in the containers by igniting dried wooden fibers.  This enables the ripening of the fruits faster.
  10. In the banana bunch, the tip portion is cut and then the stock of the bunch is placed in the polythene bag containing 100ml of water mixed with 50gm of ash.  This bag is tied in the tip of banana bunch.  This makes the bunch to ripen quickly.
  1. For quick ripening of jack fruit, a small piece of neem stick is inserted in the top portion of the fruit.
  2. After harvesting the tomato fruits this may give a coating with charcoal for longer storage.


M.Natarajan, Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar-608002, Tamilnadu, India. E.Mail:

Dr.Santha Govind, Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar-608002, Tamilnadu, India.


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