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Bihar researcher for planting of jackruits to tackle food crisis

Claims this can also earn state Rs50 billion annually

Gulf News

Patna:A young researcher from Bihar has come out with an interesting idea to successfully tackle the growing food crisis which has now turned into a global problem.

Shatrughan Kumar, 26, a pass out of Government Engineering College, Ajmer (Rajasthan) has advised the state government in Bihar to grow 50 million jack fruit plants on the vacant lands along the national and state highways in the state.

According to him, the jack fruits trees which have the strength to sustain even violent storms if grown will not only produce abundant quantity of vegetables but will also help the state earn huge revenue by way of their sale. He said the jack fruit can even supply sufficient protein to body at a time when production of pulses is fast decreasing in the country.

“The proper growing of jack fruit plants along the state and national highways in Bihar can help the state government earn around Rs 50 billion annually,” the young researcher who has submitted his proposal to the state government told the media on Saturday. Kumar hails from Kheria village under Korha police station in eastern Bihar’s Katihar district.

“While the jack fruits will be available in plenty for the consumption of masses, their leaves can be used to feed goats. They will git impetus to the goat-rearing centres and eventually promote rural industries,” he explained.

Earlier, a senior state government official in BIhar, Vijay Prakash had advised the people to eat rats in an effort to battle severe food crisis and save grain stocks.

“Eating rats will serve twin purposes. It will save grains from being eaten away by rats and will simultaneously increase grain stocks,” Prakash who is now posted as state’s Planning secretary said adding rats are now the biggest threats for food grains. As per an estimate, he added, almost half of the food grains are consumed by rats at different stages of food cultivation and storage.

According to him, rats also have huge protein content. Field rats have 23.6 gram of protein, 104 calorie energy, 242 mg of phosphorus and 30 mg of calcium which are much higher than vitamins found in mutton (18.5 gram only), pork (18.7 gram) egg (13 gram) and pigeon (23.3 gram). Only fowl has more protein (25.9) than rats.

He advocated for hugely popularising the rat meat among the masses on the ground that per capita availability of pulses has decreased from 64 gram/day in 1951 to 37 gram/day today. He added that the country will require twice as much food and feed by 2040 and rats can be, thus, a great source of food and energy.

“A cheap source of protein and helpful in addressing malnutrition, rat meat can also end the practice of untouchability in India. There will be no issue of untouchability once everyone starts consuming rats,” he opined. However, his proposal was eventually shot down by the government under pressures from certain sections of the society.