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Soya milk, an alternative to cow's milk

By Our Staff Correspondent

Bidar Jan. 3. Mothers in Aurad, a poor and backward taluk, are feeding their children Soya milk, which is six times cheaper than cow's milk but even more nutritious.

Training by the Bidar-based Krishi Vijnyana Kendra to nearly 1,000 self-help group members in the preparation and use of milk and other Soya products has begun this silent revolution in the taluk.

Aim of training

The training was aimed at achieving three ends: To provide poor families a cost-effective food product, to address the problem of malnutrition among neonates, children and lactating mothers, and to provide an assured market for Soya bean, widely grown in the district.

Soya bean is available at Rs. 12 a kg round the year and the price is slightly reduced during harvests.

As much as six litres to seven litres of milk can be produced from one kg of the grain while one litre of cow or buffalo milk costs Rs. 11 to Rs. 14.

Preparation method

Milk can be made easily at home by soaking the beans in water overnight and grinding them next morning, by adding water and edible soda powder (sodium bicarbonate).

Soya milk is thus prepared at the cost of about Rs. 2 a litre. The only challenge is to make people accept that this milk can be used as an alternative to cow's milk.

It seems to give a vegetative odour, but when one gets used to it, he will realise that it tastes just as good, according to M.P. Bhavani, head, Home Sciences wing of the Vijnyana Kendra.

Goodness of soya

Soya is rich in proteins and also contains other nutrients.

It is one of the most consumed grains in the West while India has lagged behind in adopting it widely.

It can be used as an additive in all kinds of food items prepared in our county.

Its use has several benefits especially to the poor who have been deprived of costly, nutritious foods, she says.

A wider use of the grain will create a demand for it and growers will earn more money, she adds.

Training in making Soya products has become popular with some self-help groups approaching the Vijnyana Kendra.

People tell us that they have also tried using Soya flour in food items traditionally prepared with jowar and wheat flour, Ms. Bhavani says.

The Kendra has plans to hold more such training camps.

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