Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) ‘Pundi Pallya’ in Kannada, is grown for its edible leaves in India. These leaves are used in south central Indian cuisine, especially in North Karnataka, to impart a tart flavour. It is a rich source of iron, vitamins, folic acid and anti-oxidants essential for human nutrition. Its savour in North Karnataka during the times of festivity such as Ganesh Chaturthi adds an additional acceptance to the leafy vegetable. Called Pundi Soppu in Kannada, Roselle leaves are used in Pundi Soppu Palya that is eaten with rustic millet bread – Jolada roti.
The farmers of the project Empowered communities’ foster climate resilient and Climate adaptive agriculture and livelihood–Phase II in Alnavar taluka have been practicing farming of leafy vegetables from times immemorial. The herb is extremely helpful and lucrative for the farmers. The leaves are nutritious and tasty, and thus safe to eat whereas the seeds are used to extract edible oil. At the same time, the oil is also used as medicinal supplement to apply on wounds and spasms of all sorts.
The cattle that suffer from diarrhoea are usually fed a lukewarm oil extract of the Pundi Pallya to make them completely fine. These are some of the very valuable benefits of the plant. In order to extract the oil, flaxseeds are used. The residual is used to feed the cattle that result in enhanced milk-giving capacity of the cows and buffaloes. Because of all these values, the leafy vegetable is absolutely loved in this part of the country.
The stem of the plant is used to make ropes and cattle masks. The manufacturing consists of soaking Roselle in water for a good 15-20 days and then peeling the bark. The bark is then manually worked upon to convert that it into a rope. The size is variable. In the same way, cattle bridles and masks are also made. The entire plant base is profitable for rural agriculture especially sustainable agriculture. The high acceptance of the plant is such that the farmers, who grow sugarcane, also grow Roselle leaves. As the days have passed, many farmers have shifted to other rope alternatives available in the market. However, a good 5-6 % of the existing farmers in the area, especially the smallholding farmers still use these ropes made out of Roselle barks.
The plant is easy-to-grow and profitable at the same time. Not much care is required as well. The plant grows in minimal water and in the harshest of conditions as well. With such high value and lower risk of growing, it is but natural that the farmers would be interested in growing these. As an organization engaged in farmer enhancement, we deem it our inevitable duty to bring to you the advantages of the leaves that have been grown and consumed for a long time.