'Sahjan' saplings in demand for UP plantation drive
Lucknow, Aug 9 (IANS) As the Uttar Pradesh government embarks on a mission to plant 22 crore saplings in a single day on Friday, a huge demand has been witnessed for the 'sahjan' saplings.
Sahjan (Moringa oleifera) is what the state government also has on its mind this plantation season since the fruits and leaves of the tree are believed to curb malnourishment.
Farmers and private individuals from all over Uttar Pradesh have demanded more than 57 lakh Sahjan saplings and the state government is ready with at least a crore of them.
The mission's director, plantation and APCCF, Eastern Zone, Bivash Ranjan, said: "People living in settlements, mostly, do not eat vegetables since they cannot afford it. Sahjan leaves, fruits and flowers can be cooked and eaten."
These settlements may not have enough space to plant trees but by planting a single Sahjan tree, the purpose of making the plantation drive useful to people would also be met.
It takes about a year before the tree is ready to bear fruits. It is also an easy- growing variety and can be grown as a hedge along the field. The plant has been termed as a miracle crop.
Director of the Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), Lucknow, Shailendra Rajan, said that in West Bengal it was emphasized upon as a health crop since it is rich in iron.
The Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments have already accorded the tree enough importance in their annual plantation exercises. Uttar Pradesh might be the first state in North India to have picked up the tree for promotion and telling people of its significance.
Sahjan also has an extensive use in Ayurveda. It can help cure liver diseases. Of late, it has been learnt that it has anti-carcinogenic properties (preventing cancer) as well.
Its leaves can also help purify water and the bark can be used to cure skin ailments