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Tuesday June 22, 2021
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Science

Underutilized Fruit Crops of Nepal

Pooja KC
Pooja KC 7 MONTHS AGO 732 views
Science Pooja KC

Underutilized crops are those crops which are not given much emphasis on formal research, education and development. These crops are cultivated, traded and consumed locally. Some of the underutilized fruit crops of Nepal are: tamarind (Tamarindus indica), yellow raspberry (Rubus ellipticus), bayberry (Myrica esculenta), wild banana (Musa nepalensis), wild strawberry (Duchesnea indica), Nepalese hog plum (Spondias mombin), etc. These are locally named as Imali, Aiselu, Kafal, Jangali Kera, Bhui Kafal and Lapsi respectively.

 

 

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Underutilized fruit crops have advantages like they are easier to grow, hardy in nature and can thrive well in adverse soil conditions and climatic conditions. They're rich in nutrition as well as have health benefits. Tamarind contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and beneficial plant compounds. The polyphenols in tamarind have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which can protect against diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Yellow raspberries are beneficial for fever, gastric troubles, diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach pain, headache, diabetes, jaundice, etc. Nutrients like vitamins (A, E, C, K, folates, niacin, pyridoxine and riboflavin) and minerals (Cu, Mg, Fe, Ca, Mn, etc) are found. Bayberries are rich in vitamins (A, E, C, B1, B2, B6) and minerals (Na, K, Ca, P, Fe, Mn, etc) respectively. The plant is widely used in folk medicine to treat asthma, cough, chronic bronchitis, ulcers, inflammation, fever, diarrhoea, etc. Nepalese hog plums are rich in dietary fiber, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamine, Na, Ca, Mg, etc. They serve as febrifuge, diuretic, antiseptics and are useful for alleviating cough, indigestion and inflammation.

 

Despite several advantages and significance, these fruit crops are underutilized due to:

  • lack of awareness among people, lack of technical information
  • lack of national policy
  • lack of interest of researchers, agriculturists and extension workers
  • lack of production interest and so on.

 

The exploitation of underutilized fruit crops can become a solution to the health and nutrition insecurity, poverty and unemployment. These are even sources of indigenous and traditional knowledge. ITKs are invaluable tools for organic agriculture as there is conservation of natural resources, biodiversity and plant genetic resource base, are farmer friendly and contribute to sustainable agriculture. Underutilized fruit crops possess equal potential to be grown commercially as other important fruit crops for sure. That's why they should be promoted and utilized wisely. 

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