AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE Monday, August 28, 2000, Chandigarh, India
Learning to save environment 

by Ramesh K. Dhiman

he worry that weighs heavy on the mind of the common man in the new millennium is the galloping pace at which the degradation of environment and ecology is taking place across the country. 

Processing and handling of honey
By S. Parmar and S.S. Thakur

ONEY is a sweet, viscous super-saturated sugar solution and is produced by honey bees from the nectar of blossoms or from other secretions of plants. Generally, there are two types of honey — forest and apiary honey. 

Need to exploit states' crop potential
By Harjit Singh

n May 11, 2000, the population of India touched the one-billion mark. This small country having only 2.5 per cent of the world's geographical area, has 17 per cent human population and 16 per cent animal population.



Learning to save environment 
by Ramesh K. Dhiman

The worry that weighs heavy on the mind of the common man in the new millennium is the galloping pace at which the degradation of environment and ecology is taking place across the country. The country today needs only a handful of serious environmentalists and not troops of the arm-chair tribe if we are really at recreating a clean and green India, these candid views were aired by the principal of the Sector 33 Government Senior Secondary School, Mr Karan Singh, a state and national awardee. The school, headed by this son of a Haryana-based family with strong rural roots, has set up an example in the preservation of environment and ecology.

The school under the stewardship of a three-member team comprising the principal and two faculty members, Mr Surinder Sharma and Dr Surender Singh, planted more than 50 saplings of varied species of medicinal plants and herbs last year. These included amaltas, amla, bahera, belgiri, banyan, peepul, hurd and neem et al. "We are looking up for some rare species of such medicinal plants and herbs for plantation on the school premises. We have been invariably making rounds of various city nurseries for the purpose," says Mr Sharma.

"When I took up the reigns of this school about three years back, the area, unsightly and uneven, where a sprawling garden is shaping up, lay abandoned with all sorts of weed and dense wild growth dotting it. The area was said to be infested with reptiles and rodents and was virtually out-of-bounds for the children," informs Mr Karan Singh. Away from all comforts and compulsions of home, the untiring trio went on with their job with a missionary zeal. Their cherished dream partially came true when they planted 50 saplings of medicinal plants, with a group of mango trees offering them a protective backdrop. The young plants are fully protected by plants guards, 15 of them were donated by the local branch of Punjab National Bank.

Continuing their concerted endeavour in this direction, they founded the Vasumati Environment Club here which is registered with the local chapter of the Chandigarh Environment Society. The club has been toying with the idea of public interaction at various levels with the sole motive ''to reach every city home'' with the message "plant a sapling and save environment".

"Unless we make ourselves aware of our surroundings it would, indeed, be a wishful thinking to even dream of a clean and green India. And, if we aim at reaping a bumper harvest, the young generation shall have to be involved by making them aware of the country's rich and fascinating flora," opines Mr Karan Singh. With this idea in mind, the team involved the school children who were able to spread the message among their peers in the right prospective. They were exhorted to carry out the message in letter and in spirit so that it reached the remotest corner of the country. "In our morning school assembly sessions, once a week, a student of any higher classes is asked to speak on the specific specie of plant. The whole exercise is aimed at imbibing the students' interest into the exciting empire of plants forming the very bedrock of our environment and ecology," tells Mr Karan Singh.

The members further clarified that a majority of the plants are fruit-bearing, which would attract even the rare species of feathered friends from across the country.

"Birds are a part and partial of our ecology and environment and without them our efforts to maintain clean environment and preserve ecological balances would be half-hearted and a virtual farce," feels Mr Sharma.

The trio disclose that the job they had been doing is more demanding and needs a lot of drive and determination. The school has a variety of ornamental plants and trees. It has its own nursery and a green house.

The team, in tandem with the school children, has created a unique children park adjacent to the proposed herbal garden. All waste material like discarded tractor tyres, tubes, iron bars and sheets, cement slabs have been used in the park.Top



Processing and handling of honey
By S. Parmar and S.S. Thakur

HONEY is a sweet, viscous super-saturated sugar solution and is produced by honey bees from the nectar of blossoms or from other secretions of plants. Generally, there are two types of honey — forest and apiary honey. The forest honey is produced by wild bees viz apis dosrata (rock bee) and A. florea (little honey bee) and is collected by traditional honey hunters and tribals by squeezing the combs. Normally this honey has more moisture and extraneous matter and is likely to be at higher risk of spoilage. The apiary honey, on the other hand, is produced by A. cerana (Indian honey bee) and A. mellifera (European honey bee) in apiaries and collected by modern extraction methods. Such honey is extracted from sealed honey combs and, thus, is transparent and almost free from extraneous matter. In order to maintain the natural quality and to prevent spoilage, it is always necessary to process the honey before marketing.

Honey is processed mainly:

— to destroy yeast cells

— to reduce the moisture content

— to delay granulation of honey

— to remove the extraneous matter like pollen, bees wax, dirt, air bubbles or any other solid particles.

Honey is processed in different processing plants depending upon the moisture content of the honey. Basically, there are two types of honey processing plants — plant without moisture reduction arrangement and with moisture reduction arrangement. Normally, the apiary honey has about 20 per cent moisture content and, thus, needs simple heating, filtering and cooling and as such the plant without moisture reduction arrangement is mainly used in this category.

A number of models are available in this category for honey processing which can process 50, 100, 200 and 300 kg of honey per eight hours shift, respectively. Such processing units are provided with a pre-heating tank, a honey pump, a filtering unit, a processing unit, a cooling tank and a settling tank. In pre-heating tank, honey is heated up to 40 to 45°C to reduce its viscosity which helps in easy filtration of honey.

Honey pump pushes pre-heated honey to the filtering unit at a desired rate. Filtration is done to remove bees wax and other extraneous matter in the filtration chamber. A microfilter of polypropylene having 80 um mesh, that filters off bigger particles but retains other natural components, is inserted in the filtering unit.

The pre-heated and filtered honey is passed to the processing tank where honey is heated to 60 to 65°C for 10 to 15 minutes to destroy honey fermenting osmophilic yeast.

The processed honey is cooled down immediately through the cooling tank in order to protect its natural colour, flavour, enzyme and other biological substances. Finally, the honey is stored in the settling tank for 24 to 48 hours to allow air bubbles to go out. Honey is then packed and sealed immediately.

The forest honey normally has high extraneous matter in addition to moisture content. Moisture content is to the tune of 24 to 26 per cent which needs to be brought down. So this type of honey can be processed through a honey processing plant having moisture reduction facility. Such processing plants are more complicated and provided with sophisticated equipment. This plant has a falling film evaporator, a condenser, a condensate collector and a vacuum pump, in addition to all the components of a honey processing plant without moisture reduction. In this plant, after heating honey for destroying yeast cells in the heat exchanger (processing tank) honey is passed through another heat exchanger for reduction of moisture. Models available in this category can process 100, 200 and 300 kg of honey per eight hours shift, respectively. Reduction of moisture to the tune of 3 to 5 per cent can be achieved through this plant. However, by controlling the rate of flow of honey and the temperature in heat exchangers, higher moisture reduction up to 7 per cent could also be achieved.

Honey should be packed immediately after processing. It is packed in glass jars of various sizes and shapes. It can also be packed in polyethylene terpthalate jars. These jars have advantages over glass jars in that they are unbreakable, light, transparent, attractive and about 25 per cent cost can be saved since no breakage and loss of honey occur in transit. For bulk packing, honey should be stored in stainless steel containers or food grade plastic cans and never in aluminum, iron or zinc containers. It should be stored either at low temperature i.e. less than 10°C or in between 10 and 15°C. Storage should be free from dampness, otherwise honey may absorb the moisture content and may be spoiled after fermentation.Top



Need to exploit states' crop potential
By Harjit Singh

On May 11, 2000, the population of India touched the one-billion mark. This small country having only 2.5 per cent of the world's geographical area, has 17 per cent human population and 16 per cent animal population. This encumbrance made a thought for the government, educationists, planners and thinkers of the Indian society. Indian politicians and planners have always made targets at a higher level in every sphere of development, but have never attained them. The same is the case with the population policy. India's population is also somewhat near to that of China. But it can be said that the population problem of India is major as compared to the problem of China because the geographical area of China is about three times more than that of India. The Indian planners have never taken interest to follow the Chinese policy on population control.

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen made statements in the past few months that India would not face any food problem in the coming years. These statements may be true as the foodgrain yield in India has increased. But this needs a detailed review of the study in the food productivity and the population growth whether India is capable of feeding this increasing number of population in the long run.

On the population side, the annual population growth rate of eight states, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Assam and Nagaland varies from 3 to 6 per cent — the highest as compared to other states. But if we see the overall magnitude of the total population of these eight states, then it is hardly 3.25 per cent. So it does not significantly affect the whole population. These states contribute only 2.7 per cent of foodgrain with 7.6 per cent geographical area.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa, considered to be the most education states, have the least annual population growth rates i.e. 1.43, 1.54 and 1.61 per cent, respectively. This means that education plays a major role in having a lower population growth rate.

If we talk about prosperity in India, it is in Punjab, karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Haryana. These are prosperous states with 2.08, 2.11, 2.12, 2.57 and 2.74 per cent population growth rates, respectively.

Punjab is the major foodgrain bowl of the country. It contributes about 50 per cent foodgrain to the central pool. This state gives 11 per cent foodgrain to the nation with only 1.5 per cent geographical area. Population of Punjab is increasing at a fast rate as people from other states like Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and other neighbouring states are migrating to this small state in search of employment. In Punjab, the farm production has touched the maximum level.

The same is the situation in Haryana, another foodgrain-rich state. In the neighbouring Rajasthan, underground water is brackish which is not fit for cultivation. Only canal water can be helpful to increase cultivation of food crops. It is only in the poor states like Bihar, Orissa, eastern UP and West Bengal where groundwater is fit for different cereal crops with the help of which potential can be exploited. If the potential of these states is exploited to the same level as in the case of Punjab, Haryana and western UP, it must be taken into consideration that these states will also reach the saturation point after the Green Revolution where Punjab and Haryana are at present. We cannot ignore that more we exploit our resources to maximise the yield of a crop, more inorganic manure is necessary for it which adversely affects human health. But man can have control over the population, for which UP, Bihar, Orissa, MP and Rajasthan are mainly responsible which constitute about 45 per cent of the total population. At present these states are providing 47 per cent foodgrain with 44 per cent geographical area.

So population control needs a well-planned programme with special emphasis on these five populous states.Top


Farm operations for August


THIS month is very suitable for planting of evergreen fruit plants like citrus, mango, guava, litchi and loquat as weather is suitable for the establishment and growth of fruit plants.

The excess rain water when stagnates for several days is harmful to the orchard trees. Adopt prompt measures to drain out the excess rain water from the orchard. Prune the dried ends of the branches along with 5-8 cm of the live wood. Apply a small dose of nitrogenous fertiliser to excess water-affected fruit trees.

The short-statured leguminous inter-crops like moong, mash, guara and beans may be put under vacant land in the young orchards.

The papaya plants should be manured @ 0.75 kg of fertiliser i.e. ammonium sulphate, superphosphate and potassium sulphate, superphosphate and potassium sulphate in the ratio of 2:4:1 during the month along with 10 kg of well rotten farmyard manures.

Spray the affected citrus trees with 0.3 per cent zinc sulphate without addition of lime to late summer flush in this month to control zinc deficiency.

In citrus, spray 670 ml Rogor or 625 ml Nuvacron in 500 litres of water for the control of insect-pests. Spray mixture (2:2:250) or 50 per cent copper oxychloride (0.3 per cent) for the control of citrus diseases.

To check weeds in ber orchard, spray 1.2 litres gramoxone (paraquat) during the second fortnight of August when the weeds are growing actively as a directed spray. Dissolve the herbicide in 200 litre of water per acre.

In ber, spray the trees with Bordeaux mixture (2:2:250) or with 0.3 per cent copper oxychloride 50 per cent.

To check insect-pests and diseases in mango, spray Thiodan 700 ml and Captain 1 kg in 550 litres of water for one acre.

To control anthracnose and downy mildew diseases of grapes, spray the vines with Bordeaux mixture 2:2:250 in 400 litres of water.

Dairy farming

Separate the pregnant animals from the rest of the herd 15 days before the expected date of calving. Keep a close watch at the time of calving and provide the necessary help if needed.

It is the calving season and observe the animal daily for normal calving in case animal do not calve but show the symptoms, get it examined from veterinary officers.

In case the placenta does not come out within 12-16 hours take veterinarian’s help.

Immediately after birth of the calf, remove mucous membranes from the nose and mouth. Dry the calf with a cloth and put dry bedding. Feed three-four kg of Colostrum to the calf within one or two hours of its birth.

Cut the naval with the sterilised scissors and apply tincture of iodine on the naval cord of the calf till it dries off to avoid naval ill.

Take hygienic steps to check maggot wounds. Keep the surroundings clear and preferably apply fly repelling ointment on the wound i.e. Himax or Lorexane or Ectosep.

Do not completely milk the animal to avoid milk fever.

Deworm the calf with any of the dewormer on 15th day and thereafter 15 days interval two times.

Disbud the calf within 7-10 days of birth with hot iron. Apply antiseptic cream to heal the wound and control ticks.

Feed mineral mixture regularly to avoid mineral deficiency diseases. Be very careful that no mouldy food or fodder is fed to animals. Avoid storage of feed beyond 15 days.

Feed wheat dalia 1 kg after boiling and mixing with half kg of gur, twice daily for the first three-four days to the mother. Feed mineral mixture before and after calving to save the animals from milk fever.

Due to heat, humidity and rain and lack of fodder, it is a stress period for the animals. Protect the animal from inclement weather and heat and provide alternate feed like concentrate mixed with wheat straw or sillage.

— Progressive Farming, PAUTop