Dr. Amit Gautham
When we relish the upma or pasta in our plates, we seldom think about how the ingredients make their way into these sumptuous dishes.
One of the most used cereals worldwide is wheat. It is one of the most durable and dependable crops after rice and maize and is grown under diverse Agro-Climatic conditions.
We will take a look at a variety called Durum wheat that is the raw material that goes into our daily food items. Durum wheat is used to prepare numerous food products such as macaroni, pasta products and semolina and plays a part in the nourishment of the world’s population including India.
Durum wheat (Triticum durum L.) is an economically important crop grown worldwide including India. It is being cultivated in 10 to 11% of world area and accounts about 8% of the total wheat production.
In central India it is being cultivated in Malva regions, Sourastra and Kathiaward in Gujarat and Kota, Bundi, Jhalaward and Udaipur regions of Rajasthan, Bundalkhand region and west Maharastara from a long time and its traditional food products like Bati, Bafla, Dalia, Churma, Lapsi, Upma etc. are being consumed as staple food.
Due to susceptibility to rust and limited production in 1960s the cultivation in mid India declined and farmers stopped growing Durum wheat varieties. Now, due to the development of highly tolerant and high yielding varieties the area, production and productivity of Durum wheat has increased day by day and central India is now called a hub for Durum wheat.
Advantages of durum wheat cultivation
More Production in less irrigation
Durum (Malvi) wheat needs less irrigation as compared to bread wheat. Some varieties like Malav Ratan and Malav Karti can give 35-40 quintals/ha. in one or two irrigations, depending upon the availability of water. Varieties like Malav Shakti and Poshan gives around 50-60 quintals/ha. in three to four irrigations.
Pic: Durum Wheat crop stages
It is found that as compared to rice and aestivum (variety of wheat) nutrient value of Durum wheat is more, because it contains protein, micronutrients like iron, copper and zinc in large amount comparatively.
Table 1: Comparison between quality characters of popular Bread wheat (Lok-1) and Durum wheat (HI 8627)
|Varieties||Hectolitre weight (kg)||Protein (%)||Total carotene (ppm)||Iron (ppm)||Zinc (ppm)||Copper (ppm)|
|Malav Karti (durum)||82.3||11.0||5.7||49.6||42.1||6.0|
From the above table, it is clear that, as compared to the most popular bread wheat (Lok-1) in central India durum wheat (Malav Karti) contains more values of total carotene (two and half % more), protein and micro nutrients. In addition, it contains vitamin B complex i.e., Riboflavin, Lysine and Thiamine in good amounts. It contains folic acid, calcium, vitamin E and antioxidants in good amounts as compared to bread wheat. Total carotene which is a precursor of vitamin A, helps to keeps eyes healthy and is useful in the development of immune system.
Security to rust and other disease:
Research showed that Durum wheat has different levels of rust resistance as compared to common bread wheat. Many Durum wheat varieties are resistant to brown rust, which is very prominent in bread wheat in India. Durum wheat can protect wheat cultivators not only in central India but also all over India where wheat is cultivated. It is also resistant to black rust (Ug 99) so it avoids the dispersion of Ug 99 race in India. Durum wheat is also resistant to seed borne disease like Karnal blunt and Kayama (Loose Smut) which gives seed born disease free wheat varieties.
Pic: Field view of Brown rust on Wheat
Durum wheat is mostly used in fast food like noodles, spaghetti, lasagna, vermicelli, macaroni, pasta and many other products.
Keeping in view the increasing demands of these products, many fast food production plants can be set up , providing jobs to many people.
Possibility of International business:
There is a wide competition in the export of bread wheat as compared to the Durum wheat. Since Durum wheat is a more profitable crop as compared to bread wheat, farmers can make good money by supplying disease free nutrient filled Durum wheat. In addition, they can get good market of processed food manufacturing in India.
New developed varieties of Durum wheat:
There are many Durum wheat varieties developed for different irrigation conditions, India Agriculture Research Institute, Regional station is working in very effective way for the development of many Durum wheat varieties for different irrigation conditions and improving its quality level. All the developed varieties are rust resistant, have high level of water use efficiency, drought and heat tolerable and contain high level of quality nutrients.
Therefore, the cultivation of Durum wheat makes great economic sense today as compared to other crops.
It surely is an opportunity for farmers in India to make use of indigenous technologies and crop varieties available for increased profitability and a fulfilling farming career!
Dr. Amit Gautham RA
Indian Agricultural Research Institute
Regional station Indore