History of Mkhaan

Darbhang- The Motherland of Mkhaan

Mkhaan or Fox nut which is also known as the superfood, has made inroads in the domestic and international markets. Today, famous for its many health benefits, nutrition, aiding in weight loss and usage for cooking, Mkhaan’s presence dates back to more than 200 years ago.

The origin of cultivation of Mkhaan took place at Darbhang, a popular Mithilanchal region of Bihar. It is here that Mkhaan was cultivated with the traditional methods by a poor community of farmers. From Darbhang, Mkhaan seeds and Mkhaan Pops have extended to other parts of the Country. Historically, in the Eighteenth Century, under the kingship of King Darbhanga, Mkhaan was cultivated in Darbhanga and Madhubani districts. In those times, farmers used to get a profit of Rs 3 per acre for the cultivation of Mkhaan.

Mkhaan seeds and Mkhaan pops are native to Darbhang and contribute 40% to the total production of Mkhaan in the state of Bihar. More than 3500 MT of Mkhaan is traded annually in Darbhang and it is expected to increase exponentially with every passing year.

Mkhaan has reached to countries like Pakistan, Canada, China, Malaysia, Bangladesh etc. However, Largely the cultivation of Mkhaan takes place in Darbhang only. Due to the huge rise in demand of Mkhaan seeds and Mkhaan flakes in domestic and global arenas, Government of India is encouraging companies to brand and package Mkhaans to attract untapped markets. Government is backing the farmers of Madhubani and Darbhanga districts so that they can are a better livelihood from the cultivation of Mkhaan. 

Greek History of Mkhaan

Though Mkhaan finds its roots in the heart of India, it is also found in other foreign cultures. Not limited to India, Mkhaan or Fox nut has been mythological associated in Greece. This wonder nut has many names in different countries. In India, it is called Phool Mkhaan, Western countries call it Fox Nut and Lotus seeds. Another interesting name of Mkhaan is Euryale Ferox. The name goes back to centuries back in Greek Mythology. It has derived its name from mythical Greek Gorgon that are a terrifying female in Greek History.
In Greek, Gorgon means Terrible or dreadful. This term is commonly used in Greek Mythology for three sisters who had head hair of venous snakes like Medusa. 

Bihar: In the Process of getting the prestigious GI tag for Mkhaan

It is here in this hinterland of Bihar, Mkhaan has started getting distributed to rest of the world from Darbhang. Also called as the black diamond, Mkhaan is in the process of getting the Geographical Indication Tag which will give a huge boost to exports of Mkhaan to other parts of the country. Stringent tests of quality are done before any produce of a region gets the GI tag. Also, the produce has to be be originated from that particular state before it is awarded with GI tag status by Government of India. It is a proud moment for the state as very soon Mkhaan will be officially an exclusive produce of Bihar.

Bihar: Frontrunner in Mkhaan Cultivation

Mkhaan or Lotus seed is cultivated in the marshy lands of India. Bihar alone accounts for 90% of the Mkhaan Cultivation. The roots of Mkhaan cultivation in India go deep in this State. Darbhang being the birth land of this aquatic crop. 

  • Traditionally North Bihar has been involved with cultivation of Mkhaan for consumption for many reasons. Primary used for cooking purposes, Mkhaan comes as an economical option with health benefits. The Hindu community is Bihar use Mkhaan for Festivals and religious purposes. Muslim community too uses Mkhaan for  breaking their fasts called Roza during Ramzan.
  • In Koshi Mithila regions, Mkhaan is used for marriage ceremonies too. Garlands of Mkhaan are made and offered to Gods and Goddesses.
  • Also cultivated for its medicinal usage, Bihar is producing Mkhaan and distributing it to rest f the country for making Ayurvedic Medicines. It is said to alleviate the problems of Vatta and Pitta.
  • Traditionally District Darbhanga is one of the oldest regions of Bihar producing large amount of Mkhaan. Agriculture has been the primary source of livelihood in this district. Darbhanga is known to be one of the most backward districts of India. Darbhanga district has major regions producing Mkhaan namely, Beroul, Benipur, Keoti, Manigachi, Derange, Sadar, Singhwara, Baheri, Alinagar.
  • Gullobara bazaar in Darbhanga district is a major trading centre approximately 2000 MT of mkhaan is traded annually. The fishermen community known as Mallah is very poor and backward and use extremely traditional means of collection of seeds that effect their health as well. They collect the seeds from the bottom of the water beds which is very cumbersome. 
  • Apart from Darbhanga and Madhubani districts, Katihar and Purnia are upcoming districts for Mkhaan markets in Bihar.  3000 MT of Mkhaan is traded annually in the district of Katihar and about 3500 MT in Purnia. Katihar town and Kada Gola are the two important markets in district Katihar and Purnia has clusters like Harda, Sapni, Khushkibagh, Belauri and Gulabbaghare for Mkhaan production

Government’s Initiatives

Looking at the poor health standards and time consuming methods of the farmers of Mkhaan, Government is supporting Darbhang and other district farmers with new technology and provision of credits. With GI tags and steep increase in global demand of Mkhaan seeds and Mkhaan, Government has expansive plans for Bihar.

High yield variety called the Swarna vaidehi has been provided by ICAR to the farmers for higher quality Mkhaan Production.

Traditional methods of farming are being replaced by modern and mechanised process of cultivation. Aqua farming is being encouraged as it is a more sustainable and healthier option. It lessens the cultivation time and also provide high quality production of Mkhaan seeds and Mkhaan.

Darbhang-The Mkhaan Hub
Home of Black Diamond Growers & White Gold Poppers

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