is an important aquatic crop, belonging to family Nympheaceae. It is commonly known as Makhana, Gorgon nut or Foxnut and grown in stagnant perennial water bodies like ponds, Oxbow lakes, and swamps. Makhana cultivation provides livelihood to thousands of resource poor farmers, particularly in Bihar and Manipur. It is a cash crop and is marketed in the form of popped makhana commonly known as Makhana Lawa.
In India, the cultivation of Makhana is distributed in Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Eastern Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Eastern Uttar Pradesh. India is the only country where Makhana is cultivated as crop and mainly in the state of Bihar and some Parts of Assam.
In Bihar, area under makhana cultivation is about 13,000 hectare and accounts to a total yield of 85 per cent of the total production in India. Major Makhana producing districts in Bihar include Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Saharsa, Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia and Katihar. Approximately, 80 per cent of the total production of processed Makhana comes from Darbangha, Madhubani, Purnia, and Katihar districts alone.
Constraints in production, processing and marketing of the makhana is studied by Garrett ranking method and also by the opinion of the respondents. The major production constraint were No ownership of pond, Labour intensive cultivation, Lack of improved variety, Lack of credit facility, Lack of scientific knowledge, Encroachment of pond by fewer powerful people and water scarcity in ponds. The major processing constraints were lack of processing machinery and equipment, lack of credit facility, dependence on climate and health risk of the processor. The major marketing constraints found were the price fluctuation, lack of transport facility and unorganised and inadequate market.
Tools/implements should be designed for harvesting. Smokeless Chulhas needs to be constructed with chimney and hand gloves should be provided in roasting process. There is need for large scale improvement in processing, value addition, grading, packaging, storage, and market infrastructure. Geographical Indication (GI) registration can be taken up for makhana, for protecting the traditional knowledge of the producers and processors of makhana in the state. Makhana farmers may be linked to a Micro Finance Institution (MFI), which would provide them timely micro credit.