Safe storage

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

WITH farmers using primitive methodsoffood storage that provide easy accessto a variety of pests, the storage scenarioin India is quite depressing at present. Inview ofthis problem, A Thimmaiah andA Ravishankar of the IndianAgricultural Research Institute havecome up with a down-to-earth methodfor small-scale storage of rice (KisanWorld, Vol 22, No 7).

They suggest that using powderedturmeric (Curcuma longa), a crop extensively grown in India for its underground rhizomes that finduse in an array of fields After treatmentlike spices, cosmetics,medicines and dyes, stored with turmericrice can be protected from powder, ricethe major insect pests thatattack stored grain - the filled in jutelesser grain borer (Rhizo- bags can safelypertha dominica) and the be storedred flour beetle (Tribolium casteneum). period ofmixing of turmeric one yearpowder at a concentrationof 2.5 to 3 per cent with rice in jute bags;before storage is a simple and efficientmethod to manage pests. After treatment with turmeric powder, rice filledjute bags are stacked on a wooden plankfor storage which ensures protectionagainst pests for 1 year.

Currently, synthetic insecticides andfumigation are widely used to manageStorage pests. But it has been foundthat insects develop resistanceagainst the chemicals used, rendering them ineffective. Also, the toxicresidues are left in the grains, threatening human health.

"It is time that thepotentialities of turmericare fully exploited for thebenefit of humankind," says A Ravishankar.

for a Besides being cheap andeconomical, this methodis "simple, effective,nature-friendly and safe",adds Ravishankar.

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Down To Earth