A country whose 60% GDP comes from agriculture and majority of its citizen relies on Agriculture is where the concept ‘Feed The Poor’ have aroused. One can abide himself from virtual priorities but not from food and hence not from Agriculture too. Agricultural scenario, where 60% of loss occurs due to weed infestation, the same percentage can strengthen the backbone. ‘Feed the poor’ aims at strengthening that backbone of agriculture by utilizing weeds as a product or say raw material. Chenopodium a weed distributed all over the world withholds that beneficial aspect within itself which can, not only help fulfil the food requirement but secure the demand. We visualise developing that marketing scenario of this discarded weed and finest and cheapest technologies which can refine the weed as flour used to bake pancakes in global level.
Potential of project
The human being relies on fewer plants to feed much of the planet and potential of these plants is at risk due to climate change. Farm land productivity is decreasing day by day due to climate change projections. Unconventional crops which are climate resilient need to be explored in order to feed the increasing population living in variable climatic conditions. Identifying stress-tolerant alternative crops is therefore seen as an important strategy to improve agricultural production, sustain the livelihoods of the poor farmers, reducing the pressure on main crops and a step forward to food security. Similarly on other side there is improper fooding habit which farmers have been following that lacks the basic requirements of mineral nutrients and the malnutrition prevails there. In this situation there is requirement of alternative that can address both of these problems. Chenopodium is a climate resilient weed with potential to add into food security due to very good nutritional value, climate resilience, wide range of adaptability and genetic variability. Some weeds have numerous potentialities but the people are unaware of it. Feed the poor, clearly indicates that the project targets the poor farming community who have enough resources but lack knowledge of their value and their proper use. Chenopodium is one of the weed which have lots of potentialities but is underexploited. People are investing huge amount of their capital in the control of this potentiality bearing weed. Cheopodium has great potentiality of securing fooding habit and also the health status of the people. Only access to enough food does not means food security it also deals with the fulfilment of required micronutrients as well as well-being of health condition also underlies within the food security. Chenpodium has this potentiality to provide all the essential requirements of micronutrients. Similarly it is capable of curing simple diseases to fatal diseases like cancers diabetes and different heart ailments. Similarly it has wide range of marketing potentiality too. Now a day there is increase in awareness of the consumers that certain proportion of their diet should contain the leafy vegetables. Chenopodium may be among one of those best choices of that proportion. Different value added products of Chenopodium can also be made and well marketed. So the only requirement now is to increase the level of knowledge among those people who are rich with resources but are poor with their inability to use it appropriately. We the team feed the poor are mainly focused on awaking people about these potentialities of Chenopodium.
Excluding the weeds for proper crop stand is the trend initiated long ago or say since the human existence evolved. Sustaining with what nature gave was a principle of living of people long ago. But the scenario has turned upside down. People have turned much choosy about their needs. Consider the crops. They blindly are oriented on what they are producing. What occurs side by side is destroyed. Weeds are those side-products of crops which people regard as by-products. In case of Nepal, an Asian nation where people feed themselves with growing crops have an prospective that weeds are eating crops. Today people use various weedicides to destroy the weeds. The country like many underdeveloped and developed nations still withholds conventional basis of farming but overdose use of modern weedicides. Those poisons not only hamper the human health but also the productivity of land. But some of them have better stories for us. Most of the weeds which they tend to destroy by destroying their health may have positive effects for them. Chenopodium over the world is that weed which has a lot of benefits but still is behind the curtains. Feed the poor here not only abides the country from where it is aroused but considers the underworld nation as its users. Seeds of the plant are said to be very beneficial for enhancing appetite and has been used as a laxative agent. It is a natural source of iron, fibre, vitamins and protein, which helps the body gain immunity and strength. A tea made from the leaves of this plant can be used to treat lose motions and stomach pains. It can be used to address the problem of nutritional deficiency as it contains some of the most valuable nutrients. To avoid stone formation in kidney, the juice made of the leaves can be consumed. For swelling in body, it can be of great relief. It can also be used to cure jaundice. For treating problems of missed periods, the seeds of this plant are very useful. Juice of this weed is also good for anaemic patients. It is beneficial for infections in the urinary tract. The other best part that this crop hides within itself is its forms in which it can be used. Seeds of this plant can be crushed into flour which is again used for making different types of breads and pancakes. It resembles spinach and hence it can also be cooked and eaten like it. The seeds can be boiled or roasted and then ground to make porridge and cereals by blending with other ingredients. Food producing companies can use it as a raw product for flour production. Farmers besides crop can gain an additional income by selling weeds. In Nepal, Urban region pays high cost for veggies whereas rural arena throws veggies as weeds. A better transportation and better identification of these isolated species can strengthen not only the rural economy but also the urban health. In today’s agricultural scenario where world is in the threat of gradual yield loss of major crops (Rice, wheat, maize) being cultivated due to various fungal infestations and other hazards, Chenopodium can be the best alternative. It can be found in every nook and corner of the world. Tangling every taste bud and adapting itself in any form of food, Chenopodium can secure the world’s food on days to come.
Weeds have never been farmers’ friend except for the rare cases where people use them as organic compost or mulching material. But what can be the better news if they find out that the problem they are facing is an ultimate solution towards living. Feed The Poor aims at changing the world agriculture scenario by converting a by-product to product. Today where the world is haunting for the easy escape from the problems arising, we aim at giving the world an easy and an economic escape. We think for bringing a change in the conception of people regarding weed and turning over the realistic state of the underworld. Due to excess use of pesticides and weedicides or may be because of higher tillage operation rates and intensity, hectares of productive land round the globe are turning barren. This ultimately means a decreasing productivity for increasing population. Feed The Poor aims at commercial production of Chenopodium on many barren lands where commercial crops cannot thrive but weeds easily can. This cultivation can not only provide the vegetables to people but also grabs up optimum utilisation of the land. On the business low hours, these weeds can be incorporated in the soil so as to increase the organic matter content of the soil. Chenopodium itself is a bio pesticide. An extraction from plant can be commercially sold as bio-pesticide in today’s context while organic farming is climbing upstairs. It means another entrance for better agricultural vision. There are many such underexploited plant species which have tremendous benefits. Feed the poor aims at exploring these benefits. We as an agriculturist are aiming to impart awareness among people about these beneficiaries. Similarly, the food companies in collaboration with farmers can use the weeds for producing flour, medicines or other pre-packaged items or fresh leaves as well. Chenopodium is also used as dye substitute. Green shoot extracts are used as dye. Similarly Africans also use its fresh crushed roots as mild soap substitute. Pharmaceuticals can derive benefits by extracting antioxidants from the plants. Chenopodium is a low cost raw product because of its easy availability. To the companies who aim at developing the organic way of production can harbour Chenopodium within their production strategy so as to develop a higher b/c ratio. The only problem is, besides of this easy accessibility they are not aware of what it is. If the farmers here at rural region develop the concept about what it is and how it can be used then the trend of product-sale market will go different.
One of the team member Rajesh Kunwar exploring his ideas