Quinoa, chia seeds can be boon to farmers, says CFTRI director

Quinoa, chia seeds can be boon to farmers, says CFTRI director

In its continued efforts towards an agricultural revolution and sustainability, the CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Laboratory (CFTRI), in association with Innerwheel of Mysuru Central, distributed seeds of super foods quinoa and chia to around 350 farmers at Gopalapura village, 18 kilometres from Mysuru.

Speaking in Kannada, on the occasion, CFTRI Director Ram Rajasekharan said, “At a time, when farmers are complaining of loss of crops due to drought and dwindling price for their produce, quinoa and chia can be a boon.” It has to be recalled that a few employees of the CFTRI and some Kannada activists had accused the director to be anti-Kannada.

The programme was titled ‘New Super Food for Agricultural Revolution and Sustainability’. Ram Rajasekharan said that he was a son of a farmer and he felt like giving the seeds of the super food to his own family, his own brethren. “Cultivation of both quinoa and chia are less water intensive and also short-term crops, which give high nutrition to the consumers, besides high returns to the farmers,” he said.

To demonstrate the utility of chia, he soaked the seeds in a bottle of water for five minutes, shook the bottle and consumed the contents as a suspension. The suspension was also offered to the dignitaries on the dais and also local people’s representatives.

Progressive farmer Rajeev pointed out that the complaints from the farmers, who have already grown the crops, were about the crash in prices of the super foods for the past two years.

Scientist L Prasanna Anjaneya Reddy said, “It was true that some farmers who got Rs 25,000 per quintal of chia last year were getting just Rs 10,000 this year. But, if at least 50 farmers in a village come forward to grow the crops, there will be no problem in getting a good market as the buyers will come down to the village directly.”

Ram Rajasekharan said, “100 grams of seeds are sufficient for one acre of land and one kg of seeds cost Rs 200 in CFTRI. The farmers can also sell the crop to the CFTRI, which will in turn use it as seeds to further popularise the superfoods.”

Later, speaking to Deccan Herald, he said that most of the new crops introduced by the Agriculture institutions and departments fail to catch the fancy of the farmers and consumers as they fail to adopt it into India food habits. “CFTRI has developed the means and methods to process the super food. So, considering the nutrition values, the crops are sure to become popular in a couple of years. I am travelling first to Madurai, to introduce quinoa and chia to farmers, and later to Lucknow, to explain about the benefits of the crops to policy-makers in Uttar Pradesh government, this week,” he said.

He also released a poster of the Innerwheel Club of Mysuru Central on the theme ‘Do Not Waste Food’ on the occasion.
DH News Service

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