Khammam: Leaves of common drumstick tree (Moringa) are soon to be part of the diet of students at educational institutions run by the Integrated Tribal Development Agency.
Following directions from Khammam District Collector RV Karnan, ITDA Project Officer VP Gautham visited horticulture fields at Surya thanda in Raghunathapalem in the district where farmers grow a large number of drumstick trees.
Gautham, speaking to farmers, said the Girijan Cooperative Corporation (GCC) manager had been asked to prepare proposals on making moringa leaves powder a part of the students’ diet. These leaves are known to help combat anaemia and provide nutrients like calcium and iron.
Gautham assured the farmers that facilities to market the leaves would be provided, along with the setting up of a processing unit to turn the leaves into powder. The farmers informed him that about 60 farmers had been cultivating drumstick plants in about 56 hectares at the thanda.
The ITDA official also assured marketing facility for papaya crop, responding to a request by farmers. Other proposals discussed include setting up of a bath soap making unit using papaya and taking steps to supply the soaps to students in Ashram schools and colleges. He directed the horticulture officials to prepare a list of papaya and moringa growers at the thanda.
It might be noted that Karnan, along with Icrisat scientists Aravazhi Selvaraj and Johna Kolva, visited the thanda on March 17 and proposed to set up a moringa leaves processing unit.