Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kodo . . . Need information

95% of you who would be reading this post would google, 'kodo' and find out that it is a Japanese professional taiko drumming troupe.

However, the 'kodo' I refer to is a type of millet cereal (Paspalum Scrobicalatum) which was a staple diet of many a tribal communities primarily in the Chottanagpur region along with other parts of the country.   

The following is the name in various other Indian languages . . .

English: Kodo millet
Tamil: Varagu
Marathi: Kodra
Bengali: Kodo 
Oriya: Kodua
Telugu: Arikelu, Arika
Punjabi: Kodra
Hindi: Kodon

Below is how it looks like (all snaps from wikipedia). I've never seen this cereal.  

Now, why am I so much excited about this . . . 

From a nutrition point of view, quite a lot of nutritionists believe that millets are going to be the answer for many of issues of malnutrition that the developing world face. In addition, they are rich in fibre and minerals which means that they could be well accepted by the better off populations. 

Some data . . . 

Protein (gm)
Fibres (gm)
Minerals (gms)
Iron (mg)
Calcium (mg)

You may not be very much excited about the amount of proteins or calcium. But, look at the fibre content.

Then, there are other aspects . . . and this applies to all types of millets. 

- These crops are hardy and require less water. 

- They can be grown in low fertile soils.

- Millets grow better with biofertilizers.

- Most of the millets are pest-free. In traditional societies, they used to be used as used as anti-pest agents to store pulses etc. 

- Nutrient to nutrient, most of the millets are much superior to rice and wheat.  

Again, why all the sudden excitement? 

It was quite long time back, I wrote about the millet cultivation that was much prevalent in our part of the country

As part of a project on facilitating community adaptation towards climate change, we've identified farmers who would be encouraged to take up millet cultivation. They have land which are conducive for millet cultivation. 

Quite a lot of them had been quite enquiring about 'kodo'. They  had heard about how good 'kodo' was from their parents. Very few remember seeing it. 

And we've been searching high and low for people who can provide us with the kodo seeds. 

. . . and we would also need people who could help us with the technical know-how of millet cropping. 

The 2 other crops that we would be facilitating to re-introduce would be 'ragi (finger millet)' and 'bajra (pearl millet). More on them in my next posts . . .

If anybody has information about where we can procure kodo seeds, please contact me ASAP. 

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