Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nutritional benefits of dry Moringa leaves - tested!

A few weeks back, I had posted a blog regarding the nutritional benefits of Moringa. In case you missed it, you can find it here.
A fairly exhaustive research was done but we found that the data present online was repetitious. In some cases, it was blatantly copied from one or two sources. Unsatisfied, we decided to get Moringa leaves from our farm tested. A couple of samples were taken and tested at National Agro Foundation, Chennai.

Following were the nutritional content of the samples :

Gross Content
Moisture (%)
9.2 - 9.67
Ash  (%)
6.98 - 7.46
Protein % (N*6.25)
12.48 - 12.59
Phosphorous (mg/100g)
592- 602
Sodium (mg/100g)
110 – 197
Potassium (mg/100g)
1194 - 1220
Calcium (mg/100g)
1136 - 1292
Iron (mg/100g)
27 - 36
Magnesium (mg/100g)
363 - 386
Beta Carotene (Vitamain A) (mg/100g)
0.6 - 3.05

Following is the daily value requirement for an average adult with an intake of 2000 calories :
Phosphorous (mg/100g)
Sodium (mg/100g)
Potassium (mg/100g)
Calcium (mg/100g)
Iron (mg/100g)
Magnesium (mg/100g)

Unfortunately, the lab did not have the facility to test other Vitamins, however, it was great to see the results of major minerals.

Based on the results obtained from the samples, 100 g of Moringa leaves have the following % of daily value intake -

Amount Satisfied (%)
Phosphorous (mg/100g)
Sodium (mg/100g)
Potassium (mg/100g)
Calcium (mg/100g)
Iron (mg/100g)
Magnesium (mg/100g)

I guess the next question is, how do you incorporate Moringa into your diet? Moringa leaves can be consumed fresh, just like any other green. Dry leaf powder can be consumed with water or sprinkled over other veggies, lentils and soups. If you really want to get adventurous with Moringa leaves, this may help!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Making of SST #2 : Random Rubble Irrigation Tank

Last month, we concluded the cultivation and development of Phase 2. This consisted of several dozen acres of Mango UHD and Melia Dubia (15x15 ft). During Phase 2, we also decided to proceed with inter-cropping of fodder crops. The large acreage required another sub-surface tank (SST) for irrigation.

Last year, we constructed our first tank. In case you missed reading that posting, you can find it here . This time around, we decided to use random rubble instead of bricks. The former has a significant cost advantage over bricks.

The new tank is 22 ft x 22 ft x 10 ft which translates into approx capacity of 1.35 lakh litres.

Steel reinforcement grid 8"x8" being laid to contain the hydrostatic pressure from the bottom of the tank

Construction of the side walls with random rubble.

Walls erected up to the ground level..

Tank ready, drip system installed!

Initial testing of tank at half capacity.

Last time around, inner and outer sides were plastered which led to budget overruns. This time, we did not plaster the walls, instead suffered from several leaks due to gaps and partially due to poor workmanship. Subsequently, we ended up plastering the exterior sides which seems to contain the leaks. 

Due to different material and design, we were able to save considerably even though cost of cement and labor has increased in the last one year. We hope to be able to service the entire plantation between our two SST tanks including future Phase 3 needs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Farmers need to look beyond free electricity!

Agri subsidies were started with the intention of helping out the farmer financially. However, in today's day and age, these subsidies are putting a phenomenal strain on the existing infrastructure we have in our country. Additionally, people forget the value of a resource when it comes by free. Personally, I am not a big fan of subsidies like free power for precisely the reasons elaborated in the article below.. 

 There has been a change of guard at the power ministry and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the new man in charge, has described his task as daunting. To simplify the many complexities, it's worth keeping in mind an adage that's particularly apt for rural India: Nothing is more expensive than no power.
While on one hand there are thousands of villages that still remain to be electrified, on the other even the ones that have been electrified, get power for a mere four to five hours per day, and that too mostly at night time.

The stark reality is that due to the short-sightedness of our policymakers and the political class, we are unable to mobi-lise the national consensus needed to do away with subsidised power to the agricul-tural sector. The decision-makers fail to realise that more than subsidies, it is round-the-clock and quality power supply that holds the potential to completely transform life in rural India.
It is worthwhile to mention here that agriculture, which accounts for over 25% of the electricity consumption, contributes to a mere 5% of the revenue. Inadequate tariffs on one hand and high technical and commercial losses on the other have completely destroyed the financial health of all state utilities.

Aggregate loss in the year 2012 is estimated at a whopping Rs 1.2 lakh crore (1.5% of GDP). This poor financial health has resulted in inadequate investment in the entire generation, transmission, distribution value chain - which in turn has impacted the overall quality and reliability of the supply.

The entire  article can be accessed here