Drumstick : A Wonder Health Tree
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PREFACE Worldwide, approximately 840 million people lack adequate amounts of food each day, and over 2 billion suffer from malnutrition, including protein-calorie and micronutrient deficiencies. Vitamin A deficiency alone affects 7 million pregnant women and 100 million children in more than 100 countries. More than 250,000 children suffer from vitamin A deficiency related disorders each year and half of them die within a year. Insufficient vegetable and fruit consumption causes 2.7 million deaths annually worldwide and belongs to the top 10 risk factors contributing to mortality. Vegetables are the primary source of micronutrients for human consumption and provide the most practical and sustainable method for alleviating micronutrient deficiencies. Most people in the world lack adequate access to vegetables and malnutrition is rampant in the tropics where per capita vegetable supplies in most countries falls far short of the minimum recommended. In sub-Saharan Africa, per capita vegetable supplies are only 43 of what are needed, leading to widespread malnutrition. There are hundreds of plants species consumed as vegetables, but only about 20 crops are produced in intensive cropping systems. Indigenous vegetables are native to a particular region or introduced to the region from another geographical area over a long period of time. They are grown locally in a small scale, often resistant to diseases and tolerant to environmental stresses, very nutritious and contain a vast range of phyto-chemicals however, most are neglected or under-utilized. Indigenous vegetables have potential for introduction or greater use, vegetables for daily sustenance in home gardens, and a means to diversify production systems and diets. Among the indigenous vegetables, drumstick occupies one of the important positions owing to its immense nutritional and medicinal properties. The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute has identified Moringa as a priority species of underutilized crops for food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Moringa also has been promoted by non-governmental agencies such as the Church World Service CWS and Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization ECHO to combat malnutrition among nursing mothers and infants. Keeping above facts in view, efforts has been made to bring the publication on Drumstick. Under the Ist Chapter, an overview of the crop has been described mentioning its immense applications and research priorities to bring the crop in main stream Chapter IInd covers the native regions of the plant vis-a-vis distribution of the crop across the globe Under the 3rd Chapter, systematic details of the genus Moringa and its species has been given. While compiling this chapter, the author appreciates the work of Mark E. Olson, Ontogenetic origins of floral bilateral symmetry in Moringaceae Brassicales , published in American Journal of Botany 90 49-71 , 2003. Drumstick has emerged as one of the most nutritionally and medicinally rich crop in the plant kingdom. Its nutritional and chemical compositions have been described in IVth Chapter of the book. Recently some efforts have been made towards its genetic improvement, though not sufficient, looking the immense potential of the crop, has been described in the Chapter Vth and the Chapter VIth deals about cultivation details, post harvest management and plant protection measures. Author is well confident that the information given in the different chapters on various aspects of this miracle crop will be very useful to researchers, students, growers, exporters, NGOs and Planners and Policy Makers. Varanasi
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Author is grateful to Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE, Government of India and Director General, ICAR, New Delhi for his inspiration. I am very much grateful to Dr. H.P. Singh, Deputy Director General Horticulture for his valuable suggestions and support. I express deep sense of gratitude and indebtedness to Eminent Vegetable Scientist Dr. Kirti Singh, ExChairman, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board, New Delhi and Prof. G. Kalloo, Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Jabalpur, M.P. for their unflinching supports, admirable suggestions and guidance. The inspiration and motivation received from Dr. P.S. Naik, Director, Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, Varanasi is gratefully acknowledged.