Farm varsity identifies 368 varieties of rajmash in state

Lalit Mohan

Dharamsala, August 3

Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University (CSKHPAU), Palampur, has identified 368 landraces of rajmash (kidney beans) that are grown in the state.

VC of the university HK Chaudhary, in an exclusive interview with The Tribune, said the institute had decided to get the GI tag for all varieties of Himachali rajmash.

Prof Chaudhary has contributed to developing 20 important crop varieties, including rajmash variety 'triloki rajmash'.

The VC said he had collected 368 rajmash landraces from the tribal belt and other areas of the state, including Kukumseri (Lahaul amp; Spiti), Kinnaur, Kullu, Mandi and Chamba districts. These were called the hotspot regions for the landraces of rajmash cultivation, he said.

He said, "We evaluated, purified, characterised and developed a popular rajmash variety 'triloki rajmash' following the pure line selection method of breeding. The university has initiated a process to get Geographic Indicators for the rajmash landraces in collaboration with the Himachal Pradesh Council for Science Technology and Environment (HIMCOSTE), Shimla. This will get it national and international recognition benefiting local farmers.

He said the rajmash variety "triloki" had been released for the cultivation in dry temperate zone hilly region. It had bold and creamish yellow seeds with good cooking quality and excellent organo-leptic taste, resistant to diseases like bacterial blight, angular leaf spot and anthracnose and provides 20-22 quintal per hectare average seed yield.

It was ready for harvesting 10-20 days earlier than other varieties of rajmash. Creamish yellow rajmash, grown by the farming community in the hilly regions, possesses many health-related nutrients. Such light-coloured rajmash contains a good amount of carbohydrates, fibers and anti-oxidants which has the ability to fight against diseases. Apart from this, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, mineral elements as potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron are also found to increase the immune system and control blood pressure.

Phytohaemoglutin, a harmful toxic element, is found in lesser amounts in creamish yellow rajmash than in red rajmash, which prevents many stomach-related problems like diarrhoea, colic and indigestion. Creamish yellow colour-seeded rajmash has a thin seed coat and takes less time for cooking.

The VC said this variety had become very popular among the farming community and efforts were under way to promote it further by way of branding and attractive packaging.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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