Puja S Navin
Thursday, Jun 30, 2005
COIMBATORE: Called New Zealand Spinach, a variety of spinach from the Horticulture Research Station (HSB) in Udhagamandalam is noted for its anti-cancerous properties.
"It is like a vegetable chicken with a protein content of 28.8 per cent, the highest in a vegetable and is known for its anti-cancerous properties," says N. Selvaraj, Professor and Head of Department of the HRS.
This new variety has been used in China to fight stomach cancer, he points out. This spinach is one of the 11 new varieties of crops displayed at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University's Scientific Workers Conference this year.
Spinach is very high in energy with a high constituent of proteins, calcium and iron.
"We have carried out a market survey to check the response of the customers in Tirupur, Coimbatore, Chennai and Bangalore. It has been sold for Rs. 5 to Rs. 7 per 200 gm and the acceptance is very good," he adds.
"The plant is highly drought-resistant and has been cultivated in various levels of elevations on the hills and can be used as a crop cover. It can be grown during frost seasons (November - January) and summer seasons (March - April). The chlorophyll extract of the plant also has export potential. Some companies have contacted us for this," he adds.
"It can be cultivated in the Nilgiris as an alternative crop during tea crisis. Farmers can sell it to the local market and it has a very good shelf life too," he adds.