Safe storage

Using a little turmeric powder mixed with rice can protect the stored grain from pests

Published: Friday 15 September 1995

WITH farmers using primitive methods offood storage that provide easy access to a variety of pests, the storage scenario in India is quite depressing at present. In view ofthis problem, A Thimmaiah and A Ravishankar of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute have come up with a down-to-earth method for small-scale storage of rice (Kisan World, Vol 22, No 7).

They suggest that using powdered turmeric (Curcuma longa), a crop extensively grown in India for its underground rhizomes that find use in an array of fields After treatment like spices, cosmetics, medicines and dyes, stored with turmeric rice can be protected from powder, rice the major insect pests that attack stored grain - the filled in jute lesser grain borer (Rhizo- bags can safely pertha dominica) and the be stored red flour beetle (Tribolium casteneum). period of mixing of turmeric one year powder at a concentration of 2.5 to 3 per cent with rice in jute bags; before storage is a simple and efficient method to manage pests. After treatment with turmeric powder, rice filled jute bags are stacked on a wooden plank for storage which ensures protection against pests for 1 year.

Currently, synthetic insecticides and fumigation are widely used to manage Storage pests. But it has been found that insects develop resistance against the chemicals used, rendering them ineffective. Also, the toxic residues are left in the grains, threatening human health.

"It is time that the potentialities of turmeric are fully exploited for the benefit of humankind," says A Ravishankar.

for a Besides being cheap and economical, this method is "simple, effective, nature-friendly and safe", adds Ravishankar.

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