In contrast, many farmers today practice mono culture crop system that also burdens them by destruction due to climate change effects.In sustainable farming, some of the millets and grains grown are known to have natural resistance to pests and were stored for years in wooden boxes for use during crop failures. Limited market for traditional crop varieties accompanied by the social denigration of old “coarse grains” and drudgery involved in dehusking millets and buckwheat is partly responsible for declining interest among farmers to continue its cultivation.
At Eshkol we have identified the importance of conservation of traditional crop diversity to stop soil degradation, depleting ground water table, and indiscriminate use of fertilizers and pesticides , which is finding wider acceptability now. It is also considered more nutritive and ecologically suitable to fragile environment regimes and seasonal changes. The aim of our “Wild Grow” ongoing initiative:
- Create “niche” market for traditional crops through value added product range through awareness raising and market opportunity and to create economic incentives for cultivation
- Aims to revive social, cultural and ethno food habits based on nutritional aspect of multiple grain intake through delivery of food demonstrations, community lunches and training workshops
- Introducesimple post-harvest technologies to farmers to reduce drudgery involved in de-husking and grinding.
We are currently focusing on the following species:
- finger millet (eleusinecoracana)
- foxtail millet (setariaitalica)
Eshkol identifies the advantages of stone-ground flour being promoted. Buck wheat, green gram, finger millet and foxtail flour is marketed. The endosperm, bran, and germ remain in their natural, original proportions as the stones grind slowly and at lower temperatures. Heat causes the fat from the germ portion to oxidize and become rancid and much of the vitamins to be destroyed. Since only a small amount of grain is ground at a time, the fat from the germ is well distributed which also minimizes spoilage. Nutritive losses due to oxygen exposure are also limited by the fact that stone-ground flour is usually coarser.