About ant Chutney-
- It is made of Weaver ants that are popular in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district among the people, mostly tribals, for the mouth-watering food item that is made out of it.
- Larval and adult stages of the ants are preferred and are either eaten raw or turned into “chutney” by mixing them with spicy ingredients.
- The chutney is prepared by mixing and grinding salt, ginger, garlic and chilly and is sold by tribals in rural markets.
- The chutney is rich in valuable proteins, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, fiber and 18 amino acids, is known to boost the immune system and keep diseases at bay.
- The tribes of Mayurbhanj consume Kai chutney or soup to get rid of flu, common cold, whooping cough, to increase appetite, enhance vision and eyesight naturally without corrective eye wear and to treat joints pain, stomach diseases, essentials for the development of a healthy brain and the nervous system.
- The tribal healers also prepare medicinal oil by dipping the collected Kais in pure mustard oil.
- After 30 days, this oil is used as baby oil and externally used to cure rheumatism, gout, ringworm and other skin diseases.
- Applied under food category, the GI tag would help develop a structured hygiene protocol in the preparation of Kai Chutney for standard wider use.
- GI labels enhance the reputation and value of local products and support local businesses.
Red Weaver Ant-
- Weaver ants, scientifically called Oecophylla smaragdina, are abundantly found in Mayurbhanj throughout the year.
- The “Kai” (Red Weaver Ant) family consists of three category members – workers, major workers and queens. Workers and major workers are mostly orange-colored.
- Kais feed on small insects and other invertebrates, their prey being mainly beetles, flies and hymenopterans.
- They construct nests with leaves of host trees. When required, leafy nests of ants are plucked from their host trees and collected in a bucket of water before sorting and separation from leaves and debris.
- They are aggressive and prey on most arthropods entering their territory.
- Due to their predatory habit, Kais are recognized as biological control agents in tropical crops as they are able to protect a variety of crops against many different insect pests.
- In this way, they are utilized indirectly as an alternative to the chemical insecticides.