Sorghum: Wonder crop for sugar industry as wells as common man

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Kanpur: Sorghum (Jowar) can be a wonder crop not only for all those related to sugar industry but to a common man also in fight against Corona Virus. National Sugar Institute, Kanpur in collaboration with ICAR-IIMR, Hyderabad has been conducting studies to assess the potential of the crop from the last two years at the institute farm and five Sweet sorghum varieties (CSH 22S, SSV 84, SSV 74, Phlue Vasundhara and ICSSH 28) considered suitable for sub-tropical region are being cultivated and tested. Studies carried out at the institute indicate that while the juice from stem/stalk of the crop can be utilized for production of ethanol, jaggery and nutritive low calorie sugar syrup, the grains obtained as Sorghum (Jowar) can be used extensively as a healthier flour in place of “Maida” or “Wheat Flour”, particularly during the current Corona crises.

Studies carried out in this regard indicate that one millet which is a healthy alternative to the all-purpose flour is Jowar or Sorghum. Rich in protein iron and copper, this gluten free grain has been known to play a crucial role in cellular function and repair. The rich quantity of potassium and phosphorous helps lower cholesterol and manage high blood pressure. A large amount of fiber present in the grain sorghum helps improve the digestive system. Sorghum provides almost 44 % of the required daily intake of fiber. A strong immune system thus helps to prevent any viral or other diseases from entering the body. The vitamins C present in the sorghum grain also helps boost our levels of immunity and thus Sorghum (Jowar) appears to be an important ingredient of our diet in the current times.

It can be thus a win-win situation for everyone, while the farmers can get a better price of the produce by utilizing each part of crop in an innovative manner, the country as a whole can get more ethanol to meet requirements of ethanol blending in petrol besides getting a healthier diet to reduce malnutrition, improving digestive system and immunity as a whole which is very much required to fight Corona Virus, said Prof. Narendra Mohan, Director, National Sugar Institute. This crop, Sorghum (Jowar) which is a short duration crop of 4-5 months only requiring less water can be grown as an inter-crop with sugarcane and thus the farmers can increase their income further per acre of land, he added.

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