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Weekly Current Affairs: April week-2 - Madhuban Gajar

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    15th Apr, 2020

Madhuban Gajar, a biofortified carrot variety with high β-carotene and iron content has been developed in Junagadh district, Gujarat by Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist.

Context

Madhuban Gajar, a biofortified carrot variety with high β-carotene and iron content has been developed in Junagadh district, Gujarat by Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist.

About

  • The Madhuvan Gajar is a highly nutritious carrot variety developed through the selection methodwith higher β-carotene content (277.75 mg/kg) and iron content (276.7 mg/kg) dry basis and is used for various value-added products like carrot chips, juices, and pickles.
  • Among all the varieties tested, beta-carotene and iron content were found to be superior.

How it is benefiting the local economy?

  • It is benefitting more than 150 local farmers in the area. It is being planted in an area of over 200 hectares in Junagadh, and the average yield, which is 40-50 t/ha, has become the main source of income to the local farmers.
  • The variety is being cultivated in more than 1000 hectares of land in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh during the last three years.

Background:

  • National Innovation Foundation (NIF) conducted validation trials for this variety at Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute (RARI), Jaipur, between 2016 and 2017.
  • In the trials, it was found that Madhuban Gajar carrot variety possesses a significantly higher root yield (74.2 t/ha) and plant biomass (275 gm per plant) as compared to check variety.
  • The on-farm trials of the variety were conducted over 25 hectares of land by NIF in different states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, Punjab and West Bengal which involved more than 100 farmers where the performance of the variety (MadhuvanGajar) was found to be appreciable in term of yield and its other properties.
  • During 1943, Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya found that a local carrot variety which was profoundly used for fodder to improve the quality of milk.
  • He selectively cultivated this variety and sold this carrot in the market at a good price.
  • During the early years of the development of this variety, Shri Vallabhhai selected the best plants for seed production and grew them in a small area for domestic consumption as well as for marketing.
  • Later on, demand for this carrot grew, and he started cultivation on a large scale during the 1950’s.
  • He also started distributing the seeds to other farmers in his village and adjoining areas in the 1970s. During 1985, he started selling the seeds on a large scale.
  • The average yield of Maduvan Gajar is 40 – 50 t/ha and had been cultivated in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan successfully.

What is biofortification of staple crops?

  • Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.
  • Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology.
  • Biofortification differs from conventional fortification in that biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops.
  • Biofortification may therefore present a way to reach populations where supplementation and conventional fortification activities may be difficult to implement and/or limited.
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