Tharparkar, An Open Natural Museum | A Place of Organic Food and Natural Diversity


Tharparkar is an open natural museum also it is the place of organic food and natural diversity of fauna and flora. Tharparkar is ranked as most food insecure district, where livelihood of people depends on rain-fed agriculture and livestock rearing while water remains the fundamental factor in food production.

Biodiversity Resources

Tharparkar has rich biodiversity resources, including herbs, shrubs and plants. A vast food variety is available each year after every monsoon. Every year various organic vegetables and carbohydrate products are cultivated with traditional farming methods. People have practices of consuming organic Thari food when it is available. Tharparkar is also rich in wildlife food which is available throughout the year. Local people do consume this in little quantity; recently an NGO is working on the lab tests are done to suggest its efficacy and nutritional value and explore them to use for the malnutrition and hunger issues in the region.

Beside human food consumption, the flora in Tharparkar has gigantic use as livestock fodder. Hence, it contributed greatly in local economy of the area since livestock is major source of subsistence. Various studies suggest that livelihood in Tharparkar for more than 70% populace is dependent on livestock rearing.

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Medicinal Flora

Moreover, flora in Tharparkar has also remarkable medicinal value. Communities of the area are well aware of the use of the medicinal flora and most of the primary health services are satisfied with resources from the local flora. Some of the medicinal plant species are also extracted for commercial purposes. Currently, all the medicinal plants species are exposed to anthropogenic impact.

Among plant resources, medicinal plants are of special interest. The desert communities are traditionally raised, from an early childhood, knowing of plants. Due to few or sometimes in-existent opportunities to access modern healthcare facilities, the use of effective herbal resources through generations of old traditional knowledge is applied. Recognizing the vital importance of the medicinal flora of the Thar Desert, it is imperative to review the conservation status of the precious plant resources of the area.

In last few decades more emphasis is paid on alternate approaches for both food and medicinal practices. Locally people tend to use organic Thari food in more quantity where possible. The consumption of seasonal millet (pennisetum typhoides) along with local Thari vegetables including melon, ground nut and other wildlife products, as alternate organic food is sheer example of local food consumption practices. People understand traditionally the benefits of Thari organic food available throughout the year both seasonal and wildlife food.

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Similar is the case with the use of plants in medicine which is booming up. Use of traditional medicine is the mainstay of primary health care. The use of herbal medicine is expanding rapidly. It seems that people are turning towards alternative medicine, which they wish to be less harmful and with fewer side effects than western medicine. There are various Thari herbs being traditionally used as alternate medicine including Akk (Calotropis Procera), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Golden shower tree (Cassia fistula) and Halfa grass (Desmostachya ipinnata) etc.