Similipal kai chutney

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Recently, the Similipal kai chutney made with red weaver ants by the tribal people of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district (Odisha) received the geographical identity tag.

About Similipal kai chutney

  • The savoury chutney is popular in Mayurbhanj region for its healing properties and also deemed important for nutritional security of the tribal people. 
  • Many indigenous people from Mayurbhanj district venture into nearby forest to collect kai pimpudi (red weaver ant).
  • Around 500 tribal families have been eking out a living by collecting and selling these insects and a chutney made with them. 
  • Health benefits
    • The scientists analysed the red weaver ants and found it contains valuable proteins, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, amino acids, among others. Consuming the species can help boost the immune system and prevent diseases.
    • The tribal healers also prepare a medicinal oil in which they dip the ants along with pure mustard oil.
    • After a month, this concoction is used as body oil for babies and to cure rheumatism, gout, ringworm and other diseases by the tribes.
    • The local people also consume this to stay fit and strong.

Key facts about red weaver ants

  • These are indigenous to Mayurbhanj and are found in abundance in the jungles of every block area of the district, including in the Similipal Tiger Reserve, throughout the year.
  • They form colonies with multiple nests in trees. Each nest is made of leaves stitched together with the silk produced by their larvae.
  • They mostly lodge in trees like mango, sal, jambu and jackfruit. The nests are strong enough against wind and impermeable to water. 
  • Kai’s nests are usually elliptical in shape and range in size from single small leaf folded and bound onto itself to large nest consisting of many leaves.
  • The Kai families consist of three categories of members — workers, major workers and queens. Workers and major workers are mostly orange coloured.
  • They feed on small insects and other invertebrates like beetles, flies and hymenopterans.
  • They do not sting but have a painful bite into which they can secrete irritant chemicals from their abdomens,
  • They are also recognised as bio-control agents because they are aggressive and will prey on most arthropods entering their territory.
  • They protect a variety of tropical crops against insect pests, acting as an alternative to chemical insecticides. 

Q1) What is Rheumatoid arthritis?

It is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues.

Source: Mayurbhanj’s red ant chutney receives GI tag. Why this is important for nutritional security of tribals