蕎麦

 
Buckwheat, Fapar in Nepali, is the main source of food in High mountain area of Nepal. Nature has nourished Buckwheat so that it has many medical advantage above other crops. Buckwheat is highly recommended for the diabetes patient. Nowadays buckwheat is in great demand in the countries like Japan, where it is appreciated as SOBA, a kind of noodles, popular in Japan.

By taking interest in Buckwheat, you will be helping the poor farmers of high mountain area, where they have very few options in living.

Bitter Buckwheat Buckwheat (Fapar) in Nepal Sweeet Buckwheat
1.        Introduction
2.        Species of buckwheat
3.        Cultivars of buckwheat
4.        Growing season
5.        Use of buckwheat
6.        Buckwheat grain available in Nepal
7.        Uniqueness of Nepal buckwheat

 

1.         Introduction

 

Mustang

Buckwheat is the important food crop of the people living in the hills and mountains. It is successfully cultivated from Terai (61 meter) to mountain (3000 meter from the sea level). The buckwheat is a annual herbaceous plant and is ready to harvest within 90-100 days of seeding. The seeds are small and have various shapes and size. Generally, the buckwheat grain produced in the mountain are larger than those produced in the Terai.

 

 

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2.        Species of buckwheat

 

 

There are mainly two species of buckwheat cultivated in Nepal that is also in the hills and mountain. The sweet buckwheat or Mithe Fapar  (Fagopyrum esculentum) and Bitter Fapar is also called tartary buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum). The bitter buckwheat is high yielder, cold tolerance and grown mainly in the high hills and mountain in small areas for medicinal purposes.

 

 

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3.        Cultivars of buckwheat

 

 

All the buckwheat cultivated in Nepal are the local landraces and the improved cultivar has not yet been commercially grown by the farmers. There are mainly three local landraces, which are as follows:

 

Buckwheat Farm

    -   Mountain landraces or mountain cultivars, which are grown from 2500 to 3000 meter altitude. Jumla, Dolpa, Baitadi, Humla, Manang, Mustang, etc. districts where mountain local cultivars are grown.

 

   -    Mid to high hills local cultivars are cultivated from 1500 to 2200 meter altitude. Kaski, Parbat, Myagdi, Gorkha, Lamjung, etc. districts and there are many more mid-hill districts where the mid-hill local cultivars are grown.

   -    Terai local cultivars are cultivated from 61 to 450 meter altitude. In fact, these cultivars were introduced to Terai from mid-hills to Terai by mid-hill people.

 

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4.        Growing season

 

 

Buckwheat in different ecological is grown in different season due to existence of different climate. The growing seasons in each zone are as follows:

 

Buckwheat Farm

    -   Mountain region (above 2400 meter elevation). It is a autumn crop in this region and seeds are sown from Baishak to Asadh (April to June) and are harvested from Bhadra to Kartik (September to October).

 

   -    Mid to high hill region (1500-2300 meter altitude). It is also a autumn crop. However, the seeds are sown from Asadh to mid Shravan (June to mid July) and crops are harvested from Kartik to Mansir (November).

     -   Terai region (61-450 meter altitude). It is a winter crop. The seeds are sown in November and crops are harvested in January –February.

 

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5.        Use of buckwheat

 

 

5.1       The bitter buckwheat produced mainly in the high hills and mountain (2000-3000 meter elevation) are used for medicinal purposes. Fresh leaves, dry leaves, buckwheat flour etc. are consumed by diabetic and heart patient as reported by the farmers. There are other diseases, which are improved by consumption and use of bitter buckwheat.

 

 

5.2       The Mithe Faper or sweet buckwheat is mainly utilized as food apart from its medicinal value in the high hills and mountain. The recipes made from buckwheat by hill people are as follows:

 

Mustang

·        Roti (Thick bread) from flour

 

·        Chapade (Thick bread) from flour

·        Pancakes (Thin small bread) from flour

·        Dhido (Thick porridge) from flour

·        Beverage like Nigar, Jad, Lager from grains and flour

·        Dry buckwheat leaves made into dust and is used as dal or soup.

·        Green leaves are sued as green vegetable, curry, soup or salad

·        Dry plants after seed extraction are used as animal feed.

 

In brief the buckwheat in Nepal is used as

 

Bitter Buckwheat

·        Staple food

 

·        Vegetable

·        Dal or soup

·        Animal feed

·        Beverage

·        Income generation

·        Medicine

 

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6.        Buckwheat grain available in Nepal

 

 

·        Asoj - Kartik (November – December) from mountain and high hill areas.

 

·        Mansir – Poush (December – January) from mid-hill areas.

·        Magh – Falgun (January – February) from Terai areas.

 

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7.       Uniqueness of Nepali buckwheat

 

Sweet Buckwheat

·        It is grown by small and poor women farmers mainly in the hills.

 

·        Chemical fertilizer, irrigation, pesticides, fungicides, etc. are not applied at all. So buckwheat produced in Nepal is absolutely organic i.e. free from chemicals.

·        Seed sowing, harvesting, threasing, seed cleaning, grading, drying, etc. are carried out by local bamboo and wooden tools and by local women farmers. Grading, processing, etc. is done by women farmers. Hence, buckwheat produced in Nepal is from the use of local indigenous resources and is free from use of imported machines, tools and equipments.

·        The buckwheat grain is not treated by chemicals for protection from stored pests after the extraction of seed.

·        The buckwheat grains are not polished by machines and are marketed as clean grains in raw and natural form.

·        Buckwheat produced in the mountains and hills are large, aromatic and have high specific gravity i.e. recovery rate is high or individual grains are weighty than those produced in Terai of Nepal or tropical and sub-tropical climatic zones or countries of the world.

·        Buckwheat yield per hectare in Nepal is lowest (800 kg per hectare) in the world because of the following reasons:

-         Application of chemical fertilizer, pesticides, fungicides, etc. is avoided because these inputs are essential for increasing yield.

-         Crop is grown relatively in marginal and poor soil.

-         Irrigation is not used. The crop is grown on rainfed or residual soil moisture of monsoon rain.

-         The cultivars used are all local landraces, which are poor yielder but produce quality grains.

·         The areas under this crop is not increasing, rather, it is decreasing trend due to low yield compared to wheat, barley oat, mustard and also poor market price and poor cash income to farmers.

·         Increasing attractive market price will be helpful for increasing areas under this crop, increase production and productivity. This mechanism will contribute for increasing cash income of small and poor farmers of the hills.

 

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Compiled by NepalRHD, researched by Nepal Agricultural & Foresty Pvt. Ltd.