Shellac is processed and used in various items such as garments, nail polish, perfumes, fruit polishing and wood polishing, among other uses.
“Earlier, shellac was grown in Purulia itself, but now, the farmers here grow other crops such as tamarind and mahua flowers. Only a small piece of land in Purulia is now cultivated with shellac crop,” says Prakash Aggarwal, owner of Prakash Shellac Factory.
“We do export shellac to various parts of the world, such as USA, Europe, Dubai, Kenya and Libya. However, we are not able to meet the orders on time,” says Aggarwal.
“The manufacturers are facing several problems such as lack of support from the government, lack of infrastructure, no upgradation of technology and lack of knowledge among the farmers,” he says.
“The requirement of the material is more than the production. There are unfavorable climatic conditions to be considered, too. The industry needs more capital investment to keep going,” says Samar Jaiswal, owner of Ankit Shellac Industry.
“The other major hurdle is the restrictions by the Pollution Board on the water discharge from the shellac processing units. The Board keeps a check on the units, but acts as a hurdle in the growth of the industry,” says Jaiswal.
“The state government must motivate people to grow more shellac. It should provide training programmes to the farmers, and distribute seeds during season for better yield. It should also give subsidies to the manufacturers to run their units,” says Aggarwal.