INDIA— An ancient Punjab grown wheat variety called “Sona Moti” is suddenly becoming popular owing to its high nutritional value which tacks onto it a high market value.
As the yields from this variety increase year after year, it is gaining appeal among progressive farmers not just only in Punjab but also in other wheat-growing regions.
With its high glycemic and folic acid contents, it is gaining traction amongst some of the health-conscious elites, with customers placing their orders at the time the seeds are being sown.
This variety of wheat is helping farmers earn 96.78-103.25 USD per quintal against the Minimum Support Price of 26 USD per quintal for other popular wheat varieties.
This variety was a chance discovery after its seeds were given as “prasad” to Jalalabad-based farmer Virender Mohan Nagpal by Pingalwara in Amritsar.
Nagpal then planted a handful of this wheat type on a part of his land in 2014 and harvested about 3 kg of grain. The following season, he used 3 kg of grain and harvested 60 kg.
He has been cultivating this variety every year following that, and he now has a guaranteed buy-back agreement with individuals and Tattva, the Art of Living Foundation’s marketing arm.
This year, he sold wheat grain for 96.78 USD per quintal and ground flour for 1.29USD per kilogram.
Sona Moti producers reported an average harvest of 8 quintals per acre. Even though other popular varieties yield 20-21 quintals per acre, a farmer earns the same amount from Sona Moti as from other wheat sold on the MSP.
With this type of wheat being one that grows naturally, farmers are setting aside some of their lands to grow Sona Moti for their own consumption.
Harpal Singh Bhatti, a farmer in Khanna’s Bahomajra village, stated that a group of ten producers had consolidated 30 acres to plant this wheat variety.
While they report to be getting consistent orders, they say that they were also retaining some for themselves.
They sold it at Rs 103.25 USD per quintal this year, even though the crop was not immune to the heat wave that devastated the countries wheat crop.
In light of this, they were able to harvest 6 quintals per acre, compared to 8 quintals per acre last year.
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