Saturday, 26 November 2011

Sorghum (jowar) is now a smart crop, to fight climate change

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 22: The humble jowar (sorghum), long considered as a
poor man’s food, has now emerged as a “smart” agricultural crop that
could fight against global warming and climate change.

The city-based Directorate of Sorghum Research (DSR) on Tuesday
claimed that jowar varieties are capable of mitigating the impact of
global warming by regulating the emission of greenhouse gases in the
environment. The DSR scientists also claimed that some varieties of
sorghum are completely fit into the new system of climate smart
agriculture.

According to Dr JV Patil, director of DSR, sorghum is a special type
of plant classified under C4 group of plants. Though C4 plants occupy
just one per cent of all known plant species, they fix as much as 30
per cent of the earth’s carbon. Sorghum takes back all the
carbondioxide and methane gases and thus can be described as “zero
emission” plant varieties.

Jowar also plays a vital role in regulating nitrous oxide. The brown
mid-rib varieties of jowar have lower lignin and higher digestibility,
Dr Patil said adding that even cattle that feed on jowar fodder do not
release methane gas into the atmosphere.

“Sorghum is one of the cheapest sources of micronutrients like iron
and zinc and with roughage and slow release of carbohydrates it is
preferred food for diabetics and obese population,” he added.

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