KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Little by little some Sudanese fodder producers have started to grow the highly nutritional, drought resistant and economically lucrative clitoria fodder.
Clitoria is a leguminous fodder close in shape to alfalfa, though its leaves are a little bit larger.
Clitoria is highly rich in protein, double than that found in sorghum of different varieties.
It can flourish in all parts of Sudan and well adaptable to a variety of soil types (pH 5.5-8.9) including calcareous soils.
It is a tall, slender climber and once established it becomes difficult to eradicate because of its deep root system and heavy self seeding habits. It is highly drought resistant, though it does very well under irrigation
About the clitoria’s economic, nutritional and health benefits, Sudanow has talked to Agronomist Alnatheer Zaydan who asserted that clitoria “can make a great national wealth if grown on a larger scale.”
He said Sudanese fodder farmers concentration on alfalfa cultivation has caused them to ignore the growing of clitoria which is confined to little quantities and limited areas.
Engineer Alnatheer further says has practical experiments and an initiative for boosting clitoria cultivation. He said he was ready to provide inputs and encourage and rally youths, agronomists in particular, for the cultivation of this fodder.
“Clitoria can grow in all types of soil, sandy or clay soil, or a mixture of the two. It can also flourish in formerly untapped, highly saline lands. It is harvested every month and can be compressed into 12 kilogram bales. It can also be sold as hay after the seeds are isolated.
Clitoria outmatches alfalfa in terms of nutritional value. Unlike alfalfa, it can tolerate thirst and its seeds are cheaper. It is also better in terms of milk and meat production.
Clitoria is a sort of self-fertilizer. Here its many leaves drop to the ground, decompose and accordingly fertilize the soil. But if fertilizers (like urea) are added, this can boost the vegetative productivity of clitoria. If potassium and phosphorous are added, this can increase blossoming and, accordingly, the seeds.
Clitoria does not need the use of chemical pesticides. It is self-resistant of pests and, unlike alfalfa, and is not affected by the harmful fungus known in Sudan as asala that destroys some crops.
Like okra and eggplant, clitoria continues to yield all the year through and if manual labourwers are available for picking, it can be harvested every week. But its productivity drops with growing temperatures, said Agronomist Alnatheer.
Clitoria can also be grown in basins formerly cultivated with other crops without the need for a new plowing or leveling of the soil. It can tolerate thirst for five months or more. Like alfalfa, clitoria can remain in the soil for seven years.
Clitoria flowers are used as tea in many countries of the World. This tea (known as blue tea) or (the clitoria flower tea) is healthy and very expensive. It is caffeine free and contains many health benefits. Across history it was used as a cure for many ailments. It was also used as a food flavor.
Clitoria is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that protect the body from diseases.
According to recent scientific studies, the clitoria flowers were found to soothe tension, anxiety and depression as it plays a big role in improving temper.
As an antioxidant, the clitoria flowers reduce the deep harm that infects the human cells. Drinking clitoria flower tea on daily basis protects from all types of cancer, said engineer Alnatheer.
Scientific studies have also proved the blue tea helps cement the human memory and brain faculties, a matter that slows aging and evades symptoms of progeria (early aging). It moderates blood sugar and reduces the threats of possible infections in diabetics. Taking this tea on daily basis also enhances heart health.
Cosmetic-wise clitoria is useful for the hair and the skin, in particular in old age.
It is helps in weight loss in a natural manner because it speeds up food assimilation and, accordingly contributes to the burning of fats. It also reduces blood cholesterol.
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