London educated agri-entrepreneur grows wheat variety popular in bakery industry
Anushka Neol, a woman agri-entrepreneur from Abohar, Punjab, is one of those youth. Anushka, who had her education in London University, is growing a special variety of wheat, HD 3226, along with some farmers of Abohar, and selling it through her company “Three One Farms”. This variety of wheat is very good for bakery industry as it has high gluten and protein content, she asserts.
On the one hand, many farmers mainly youth are leaving agriculture looking for greener pastures in other sectors, but on the other hand some are making agriculture profitable through innovations and new business ideas. Anushka Neol, a woman agri-entrepreneur from Abohar, Punjab, is one of those youth.
Anushka, who had her education in London University, is growing a special variety of wheat, HD 3226, along with some farmers of Abohar, and selling it through her company “Three One Farms”. This variety of wheat is very good for bakery industry as it has high gluten and protein content, she asserts.
Talking to Rural Voice, Anushka says, “We have been growing this variety of wheat for the last three years. The amount of gluten and protein in it is very high. Due to this, bread, pizza and other bakery products made from wheat flour of this variety are very soft and of high quality.
"Bakery products made from ordinary wheat flour have to add gluten separately to make them soft. But this is not the case with this wheat variety. This is the reason why it is being liked a lot by the bakery industry and chefs. During the corona pandemic in the year 2020, I started my company 'Three One Farms' and in the same year I started growing it in five acres of my farm," she narrated.
Noel said that in the next year, along with some other farmers, this variety was grown in 35 acres and in Rabi season 2022-23 in 70 acres. "We aim to grow HD 3226 in 200 acres in Rabi season 2023-24," she said.
Anushka is supplying this special variety of wheat directly to premium bakeries, cafes and restaurants in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. This variety is getting higher price compared to normal wheat. Farmers associated with her are benefiting by growing the variety. Anushka has her own Three One Farms online platform and buyer can buy this particular variety of wheat on it. She says that the main challenge is transparency, which we are trying to solve. At present, the bakery industry does not even know about the variety or quality of the wheat flour it gets.
This variety of wheat has been developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in 2019. IARI Senior Scientist Dr. Kiran Gaikwad told Rural Voice that this special variety of wheat is becoming very popular among farmers. It is being cultivated in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. He said that according to the feedback received from farmers about HD 3226 variety, this new variety of wheat is not only high yielding but also has good crop quality. Roti from the flour of this variety is also very soft and tasty.
Dr. Gaikwad said that this variety of wheat is resistant to yellow rust disease. Apart from this, it has resistance to eight diseases including Karnal Bunt, the most damaging disease for wheat crop. Apart from this, it has the ability to withstand high temperatures. Its grains do not shrink and spoil even in high temperature. Also, the amount of protein in it is very high with an average of 12.8 per cent. Due to the high gluten content, it is in accordance with the standards of the international market in terms of quality.
He said that there is a high demand in the international market for such wheat, which makes bread and other bakery products of high quality, because the demand for bread is high in foreign countries. According to the IARI trial data, the wheat of HD 3226 variety has a wet gluten content of 30.85 per cent and dry gluten content of 10.10 per cent. Bakers do not need to add gluten separately to the wheat flour of this variety as it is being added to normal wheat flour. As far as yield is concerned, the average yield of this variety is up to 57 quintals per hectare. In the trial of IARI, the yield was up to 70 quintals.
Anushka said that in collaboration with IARI and Punjab Agricultural University, she is working on 10 varieties of wheat, including this special variety of wheat, besides special varieties of barley and maize.