All stages of producing peanuts to trade this product 14
Table. 27. Effects of technology intervention: preferences and perceptions, Umra, Maharastra, India 1991 to 1992.
|Component of technology||Effects of technology intervention|
|Farm households||Labourer households|
|Broadbed and furrow system||–2||+||+||+|
|Broadbed and furrow marker||+||+||–||_|
|Ultra low volume sprayer||+||NA||+||NA|
|Short-duration drought resistant varieties||+||+||NA||NA|
- += Positive response, 2. – = Negative response, 3. NA = Not applicable; Source: ICRISAT Annual Report, 1995.
- The most interesting aspect of this are the conflicting preferences found between farmers and labourer groups of women. For example, the demand for a groundnut sheller shows the needs of women farmers for labour-saving equipment, which directly clashes with the interests of women of agricultural labourer households. The women from labourer households expressed support for continuing ‘dibbling’ sowing groundnut as it increased their employment prospects. Women from cultivator households opposed this recommendation as it not only increased physical drudgery, but also increased their supervisory responsibilities, as they had to supervise several hired women labours at the time of sowing.
- Technology intervention on the whole led to further demand for new technologies, as the farmers enjoyed the benefits of higher yields and economic returns from technology intervention. The survey revealed that both men and women farmers demanded labour saving machinery, indicating the pressure created by new technology on labour. Women farmers enhanced participation in groundnut production in Umra, combined with their demand for dibblers and shellers, indicating that technology intervention led to an increase in their workload. The resource and benefit analysis clearly indicates that, control over resources and benefits in the household were guided by traditional patterns of responsibilities assigned to different genders. As a result, any new changes that have occurred in resource use, benefits accruing due to new technology gave an advantage to the men as they gained more control over these. Owing to this, the gap between men and women seemed to have widened in decision-making. This gap is likely to alienate women from technology development process, constraining wider adaptation of technologies. The report emphasizing the demand for “short-duration” groundnut varieties’ by men and women farmers suggests that households have difficulties in fitting the long-duration varieties into their cropping systems.
In spite of the release of several cultivars in the developing countries, cultivars suitable for specific situation are still not available. For example early maturing cultivars with fresh-seed dormancy is requirement for the cultivation of groundnut in intercropping in various agroecosystems. The yield losses due to diseases and pests need to be assessed for integrated pest management (IPM). About 80 percent of the groundnut in the developing countries are cultivated under rain-fed situations a water use efficient genotype is the most urgent requirement. Genotypes possessing resistance or tolerance to drought and high temperature stresses need to be identified. The wild species of groundnut offer a vast reservoir of valuable genes that are not available within the cultivated species.
Several efforts in developing countries are being made to improve the quality of groundnuts by employing traditional plant-breeding techniques, but met with little success. The advent of biotechnological tools including marker-assisted selection and gene transfer across the species barrier has opened up novel opportunities for enhancing the seed-quality. The transformation protocols for groundnut are now well established and development of transgenic groundnut expressing desirable foreign genes is on the anvil. Misra (1997) has briefly reviewed the topic and suggested following biotechnological approaches to improve the quality of groundnut seed. The information provided might be useful in conceiving and formulating research projects aimed at improving quality of groundnut through genetic engineering.
Improvement in quality of oil
The long chain saturated fatty acids (LSFAs)-amyl arachidic (20:0), behenic (22:0) and lignoceric (24:0) present predominantly in sn-3 position have been reported to contribute to atherosclerosis. If further elongation of stearic acid can be prevented, groundnut oil would be free from these hazardous fatty acids. The elongation of chain behind C18 is catalysed by membrane bound enzyme steoryl-Co-A-: α-ketoeicosanoyl-CoA synthetase.
Engineering a gene coding for antisene RNA in groundnut may help reduce activity of this enzyme and hence of LSFA. For enhancing self-life of groundnut products, a higher oleic/linoleic (O/L) ratio is considered desirable. Increasing the protein of oleic acid in groundnut oil can attain this. The introduction of the first double bond in the plant fatty acids occurs by the action of enzyme stearoyl-ACP desaturase. Expression of additional copies of gene for this enzyme may enhance the content of oleic acid and hence O/L ratio.
Improvement in quality of protein
Groundnut protein is considered poor in sulphur-containing amino acids besides lysine, threonine and isoleucine. A Brazil-nut polypeptide with 18 percent methionine has been identified. The gene for this polypeptide has been successfully transferred to tobacco and expressed in developing seed resulting in a 30 percent increase in methionine content of transgenic tobacco seed. Thus the gene encoding Brazil-nut methionine rich polypeptide has the potential to improve the quality of groundnut protein.
Improvement in composition of carbohydrates
When a galactose moiety is linked to a sucrose molecule, raffinise is synthesized and when another galactose moiety is linked to raffinose, stachyose is obtained. Thus, obstructing the synthesis of the former alone will be enough to check production of both the oligosaccharides. The enzyme galactinol: sucrose-6-galactosyl transferase (GST), catalyses the crucial step in the synthesis of raffinose, can be obstructed by engineering expression of gene encoding antisense RNA of GST.
Reduction in aflatoxin load
Groundnut produces stilbene phytoalexins in response to fungal infection. Stilbenes inhibit fungal growth and spore germination of Aspergillus species and aflatoxin contamination does not occur as long as kernels have the capacity to produce stilbenes. Stilbene synthesis has been identified as the key enzyme for the biosynthesis of stilbene backbone. The gene encoding of this enzyme has already been characterized and even successfully expressed in tobacco. Organ specific expression of multiple copies of gene for stilbene synthesis is likely to enhance production of stilbenes in groundnut kernels and hence make them less prone to colonization by Aspergillus flavus.
5.5.1 Pod moisture-related studies
Improvement in future designs of the processing equipment for groundnut requires a more complete knowledge of the pod physical properties including the interaction with environmental moisture content. Dickens and Pattee (1972) reviewed the impact of drying practices on final product quality. More advanced work on internal vapour diffusion in groundnut and on alternative methods of drying such as use of radio-frequency and spouted beds (Nelson and Gay, 1971) will, however require additional knowledge of moisture related properties as experiment approaches application. Another example of the determination of such properties includes dielectric constant, specific heat, heat of respiration and other thermal properties (Suter, et al., 1972). They are primarily concern with densities, volumes and void fractions of whole groundnuts, whereas shell and kernels are related to moisture content. The shell or hull moisture content (HMC) appears to be about 6 percent greater than the kernel moisture content (KMC) at any equilibrium moisture level. This indicates that for typical forced convection, drying the shell could remove some moisture from the kernel after drying operation ceased (Beasly and Dicken, 1963). Rapid drying rate and high cured moisture content increases proportion of extra large kernels (ELK) in some of the groundnut cultivars (NC-2) and cause the whole groundnuts to have a lower density. Presumably, rapid drying distorts the cotyledons and increases the void space between the cotyledons.
5.5.2 Attention to post-production system
Little attention has been given in the developing countries to examining the impact of various handling methods used by the farmers in on rate of loss and reabsorption of moisture. Local methods of harvesting, curing, drying, threshing, marketing and storage are crucial factors in the aflatoxin problem.
Local governments, with the help of International Organizations like FAO/UNDP, are considering the need of analyses to improve the efficiency of local handling methods. A workshop organized at ICRISAT identified various areas of concern about aflatoxin contamination of groundnut and made recommendations that were covered in detail in the group discussions. The overall guidance of the workshop follows (ICRISAT, 1987).
- Information and training:The workshop emphasized the need to increase awareness of the danger of aflatoxin contamination of groundnut and groundnut products among international groups, national governments, the groundnut industry, the producers and ultimately the consumers. Organizations such as FAO, WHO, the EEC, etc. could do more in this respect and could cover the problem of aflatoxins in all commodities. It was also suggested that ICRISAT could act as a clearinghouse to inform all concerned with the aflatoxin problem of proposed training courses, workshops etc.
- Strategies:The concerned groups, AGC, EEC, FAO and Codex Alimentarius, should continue to work towards a standard international legislation on regulatory levels of aflatoxin in groundnuts and groundnut products for human and animal consumption. At the national level, countries are recommended to set up interdisciplinary working groups to coordinate the evaluation of the aflatoxin problem in their country. They should identify a responsible agency, organize monitoring of aflatoxin levels in foods plus feeds and initiate the coordinate research with a view to preparing recommendations for control at all levels.
- Research needs: Research needs should be clearly identified in the light of each country’s problem and capabilities. Work should be carried out by the most relevant organizations using the most appropriate technologies. In developing countries, where large areas of groundnut are grown, specialized equipment is desirable and may require the adaptation of traditional agriculture methods for most profitable use, i.e. a change from runner to bunch types or a modification of individual planting dates to ensure optimum soil moisture at the time of harvest for efficient use of digging and threshing implements or machines.
5.5.3 Assessment of post-harvest losses
In the literature there is no systematic information on the post-harvest losses in groundnut under the developing countries’ production system. In groundnut post-harvest losses are substantial, thus there is urgent need for the assessment of post-harvest losses. Farmers need to be educated regarding the post harvest losses in the quality and weight of groundnuts assisted by application of better equipment and methods for the harvest. The need for drying and storage must be suggested and demonstrated.
5.5.4 Policy formulation
In the international workshop organized by the ICRISAT in 1991 “Groundnut- A Global Perspective” (Nigam, 1992) and in other ICRISAT literature most of the post-harvest, marketing, socio-economic and policy aspects seem to be closely related among various developing countries in the Asia and South Africa. Therefore, proposed improvements have been suggested using India as an example, which can also be implemented, suitable in other developing countries. In 2000 a report “Technological Forecasting of Future Oilseeds Scenario in India” (Rama Rao, et al., 2000) was conducted in ICAR-AP Cess fund Project by National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (ICAR), Hyderabad, India. The abstract of the report follows.
“This study investigates the future scenario of oilseeds in India. It is intended to help policy makers to effectively plan and utilize the oilseed resources in the country. The study uses out put from brainstorming sessions, workshop, expert consultations, survey, historic data and system dynamic analysis. By 2010 AD, the oilseed production in the country is forecasted to reach 37 million tonnes as against the requirement of 44 million tonnes. The study identifies the shortcomings in the present production system and evaluates opportunities for improvement. R and D strategies to improve oilseeds situation hinge upon developing efficient technologies. Agency-specific recommendations are made to realize the strategies. The study recommends special focus on rain-fed oilseeds research through changed mandate coupled with resource reallocation. To improve the supply of quality seed, the study recommends association of NGOs and young agriculture graduates entrepreneurs for contract mode commercial seed production with priority finance and business partnership with research institutes and agricultural universities”.
Following improvements in cultivation, policies and R and D are proposed:
- Major competing oilseeds crops by 2010 AD would be paddy, sunflower and millets for groundnut.
- Slow results of the dry land research, insufficient resources, uncertain rainfall, lack of access to germplasm, lack of appreciation for basic research and lack of interest in the researchers were observes as the major factors in the order affecting dry land oilseed research.
- The subsystems associated with oilseeds that are likely to have more impact on overall oilseeds situation by 2010 AD in the order of importance is TOT
(development), research and education, marketing and trade and processing.
- Medium level farmers are likely to give more preference for oilseed crops cultivation. The reasons for their preference are: commercial nature of crop, crop rotation and exposure to improved technologies and local market demand.
- The present market share of less than 5 percent for blending edible oils in total edible market is expected to increase to 8 percent by 2010 AD. The basis for blending of oils in future would be health, cost, keeping quality and taste, in that order.
- The possible technical improvements in oilseeds processing that could be envisaged by 2010 AD are increased use of solvent extraction and production of pesticide-free by-products.
- The government policies on futures trading, liberalization of seed import, efficient inland handling and transport, stock decontrol and development of infrastructure facilities are expected to overcome the constraints faced by processing units in next ten years.
- To exploit high yield potential of oilseed crops in summer season, the government may encourage special tariffs for electricity and water under command areas.
- The import duty on edible oils need to be kept above 40 percent. This would protect the interests of the farmers while taking care of domestic demand to protect the interest of consumers.
- Poor consumers buy unbranded oil in low volume on daily basis but at very high price. To meet the nutritional demand of this group, States may encourage (low excise duty) supply of blended oils in small pouches of about 20 ml, sufficient for one use.
- The technology to be followed can be made available to the farmers in the printed form along with seed bags. This would help farmer to adopt technology for realizing the full potential of high yielding cultivars.
- Lack of quality seed availability is one of the major causes of low productivity. Reputation of seed co-operations on seed quality is at stack and there is need to look for new modes of seed production and distribution.
- There is tremendous scope for value addition in oilseeds both for domestic use and export. The R and D projects on value addition in oilseeds (such as recycling of protein rich defatted flour) should be given priority funding and other assistance.
- Farmers need to educate on post-harvest processes and production technologies. Private sector need to be encouraged produces quality material.
The potential dietary role of groundnut butter in semi-arid tropics of African countries has been determined, as has the assessment post-harvest practices that impact the supply and utilization of crop. It was determined that there is a need for research to:
- increase use of groundnut in refined/processed form,
- prevent or minimize aflatoxin contamination,
- improve packaging to increase the self life of groundnut products, produce flour to increase the value of cereal and legume-based foods, and
- improve methods of handling groundnuts and their products.
Presented next are the highlights of the Proceedings of the Working Group on Post-harvest Technology and Utilization “Regional Groundnut Meeting for West Africa” held 18 to 21 November 1996, in Bamako, Mali.
- In view of the increasing demand of groundnut products by producers, processors and consumers, the group expressed satisfaction to the importance of postharvest technology outlined in the Fifth Regional Groundnut meeting.
- The reflection areas of the Working Group covers all agricultural and related activities from groundnut harvest to end products or partially finished products and their delivery to processors, distributor or consumer. The group has identified four types of products, which justify a research intervention:
- Home-made products for direct human consumption,
- Improved seeds,
- Edible groundnut and confectionery nuts,
- Enhancement of sub-products in the rural areas (haulm, oilcake, pods).
Common problems in these sectors depend on the following principal themes:
- Storage and conservation of products,
- Quality control, particularly of aflatoxins,
- Socio-economic evaluation of recommended technologies or those in practice, Technology transfer, training and information extension.
This grid of analysis led the Group to formulate the following recommendations:
- Homemade products for direct human consumption, notably unrefined oil from hand kneeing is technologically poor in quality and hygiene. Generally it does not allow for any aflatoxin contamination control; research in this area is very inadequate whereas considerable efforts have been devoted to the control and detoxification of products made for export. The Group recommends that the diversification of home made products, improvement of manufacturing techniques and improvement of their hygienic and nutritional quality is made a subject for coherent research programme with adequate support.
- Availability of good quality seeds in sufficient quantity constitutes a major constraint to the improvement and extension of groundnut production to farmers. Research conducted in Senegal on this subject should be reactivated and their results brought to the knowledge of other producing countries. Special attention should be given to seed production and on-farm conservation, in view of the implementation of the new agricultural policies which will result in the breakdown of the rural supply channels in western and Central Africa.
- Edible groundnut represents a very interesting diversification of groundnut production. The group recommends that research conducted in Senegal, should be activated and be carried out in other countries. This work should not only have the objective of production for international market but should also consider production for local and regional consumers.
- Groundnut haulms are sub products in high demand for livestock feed in dry and periurban zones. After shelling, pods can be used for soil amendment and as fuel. Traditional utilization technologies exist here and there; these should be registered, improved and spread in all production zones.
- Adoption of improved technologies is linked to their feasibility and profitability in traditional rural areas. Research recommendations should be carefully assessed in socio-economics terms. The farmer on other hand should be sensitized to produce good quality products. This necessity implies that sampling criteria be developed to quickly evaluate the quality of products and to pay realistic prices for them. The group recommends that economist collaborate closely with agronomists and technologist to study this problem.
- The group recommends that work on post-harvest technology is based on an inventory of existing technologies and a research programme adapted to regional level. This approach greatly enhances technology transfer and development of relationships between producers, researchers, processors and consumers. Spread of information, (academic and professional training) and user initiation to improved technologies is of fundamental importance for new technology utilization.
- On a general note, Group recommends that account should be taken of the diversity of situations and producers’ freedom of acceptance in traditional rural zones. Thus, research should provide them with tools for decisions and recommendations adjustable and adaptable to the various constraints encountered and to the diversity of strategies implemented of which the farmers remains the only judge.
- In conclusion it can be said that large scope exist to improve groundnut production and processing in the developing countries, if the gaps in research, extension and seed production and post-harvest processing are remedied. Finally, success does not lies only making the improvements, the ultimate technologies should find its way to the farmers fields, which is the ultimate goal of our endeavours.