Rajasthan

Raj Develops Bajra Rich In Zinc & Iron | Jaipur News

JAIPUR: Fortified with micronutrients zinc and iron, two new varieties of bajra (pearl millet) developed by the Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute (RARI) at Durgapura here promise to help in the fight against anaemia, the prevalence of which has increased in the state. Seeds of the new varieties will be made available to farmers for the upcoming sowing season.
Comparing the data of NFHS-4 (2015-16) with that of NFHS-5 (2019-21), the prevalence of anaemia in children aged 6-59 months in Rajasthan has increased from 58.6% to 67.1%, a massive jump of 8.5%.
The new varieties have more zinc and iron content. “In the new varieties of pearl millets, the iron content is 80-90 parts per million (ppm) and zinc content is 41 ppm, which is almost double in comparison with most of the existing varieties. Deficiency of micronutrients such as iron and zinc are responsible for stunted growth, learning ability and pregnancy-related complications,” said L D Sharma, former in-charge of All-India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on millets at RARI Durgapura, while speaking at a conference on millets titled “Shree Ann se Swasthya Samrakshan” held at National Institute of Ayurveda on Tuesday.
While developing the new varieties, the focus of RARI was on biofortification. “Earlier, the focus on developing new varieties was more on keeping the crop disease-free, and on high production. Biofortification is the new concept, in which the focus is on ensuring high content of micronutrients,” Sharma said.

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