Makhana or water lily pops come from the seed of aquatic/water lily plants. In India, it is grown in Bihar and eastern parts of the country. In fact, 90% of the world’s makhana is produced in India.
Makhana is considered a superfood because of the incredible nutrient value it contains.
Let us see how makhana is cultivated and harvested in these regions.
The water lily plants grow naturally in ponds, but it is also grown in human-made ponds with lesser depth compared to natural farms. Makhana farming is a tedious process, especially harvesting it. Even today, makhana farming has very little mechanization. It is high on manual labor. These farmers, get into these ponds to harvest the seeds from the water, prickly leaves can be obstruction, but this is the way it is done. Once the seeds are harvested from these ponds, the next process starts – washing, cleaning, drying.
The dried seeds are popped using heat and it transforms from a dark brown seed to a white popped ball like popcorn. This is how we get makhana or water lily pops packed with nutrients.
What is sustainable farming and what role does it play in makhana farming?
Sustainable farming needs to be looked at from a long-term perspective. There are various farming methods and techniques. The evolution of farming has led to some unhealthy practices, practices that harm the soil, environment, even the crops and farmers.
Sustainable farming takes a holistic view of farming. Farming practices that are organic, chemical-free, environment friendly, and at the same time economically viable to the farmer. A lot of research has gone into making farming sustainable.
Makhana is a natural product and being aquatic makes it less prone to pests as compared to non-aquatic produce. Many farmers refrain from using chemicals and pesticides, use natural ponds, select a well-researched variety of seeds at the time of planting.
Getting a fair price for their products sometimes becomes an issue in these regions. Middlemen take away a huge chunk without providing a fair price to the farmers. The hard work is not rewarded well.
Sustainable makhana farming is the need of the hour for the balance of ecology. Sustainability helps in combining best practices for communities that beneficial to farmers, consumers, and the environment. Farming that degrades its natural resource base, in this case, the water bodies or ponds, or pollutes the environment with chemicals, eventually will lose its ability to produce good crops. We can stop this from happening.
How can organizations and consumers contribute to sustainable farming?
Food processing companies who rely heavily on agricultural products need to put extra effort to trace the source of their products, knowing how it is grown and harvested.
Testing the products regularly for chemicals and encouraging the farmers to grow responsibly. At the same time, providing a fair price to the growers becomes extremely important.
Eliminate agents who are taking away a fair share of the farmers, fix fair prices and quantity so it is economically viable for the farmers.
Consumers also can play a vital part in this. Buy products that are sustainably grown and procured. Do your research, ask for the source of the food products you are consuming and encourage companies who are putting effort into bringing good food to you!
We at Nummy, believe in sustainable farming. We procure makhanas directly from the farmers who grow this superfood naturally and without chemicals. We also ensure quantity and fair price to the farmers. Sustainable farming practices may seem expensive in the short run but these practices are definitely required for the health of our consumers, the environment, and the economy.
Encourage sustainable farming practices!
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