Sorghum (jowar) can be a wonder crop not only for all those related to sugar industry but to a common man also in the fight against coronavirus.
The National Sugar Institute, Kanpur in collaboration with ICAR-IIMR, Hyderabad has been conducting studies to assess the potential of the crop for 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 utilised 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, replacing 'maida' or 'wheat flour'.
"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 phosphorus helps lower cholesterol and manage high blood pressure. A large amount of fibre present in the grain sorghum helps improve the digestive system.
Sorghum provides almost 44 per cent of the required daily intake of fibre. 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 appears to be an important ingredient of our diet in the current times," said NSI director, Prof Narendra Mohan.
He further said, "It can be thus a win-win situation for everyone, while the farmers can get a better price of the produce by utilising 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."
This crop, sorghum (Jowar) which is a short duration crop of 4-5 months only, requiring less water can be grown as an intercrop with sugarcane and thus the farmers can increase their income further per acre of land.