Anything that is imported from abroad will be attractive and hence fruit is no exception. There are plenty of fruits imported from abroad and consumed by us. The general question is that whether we can eat them or not and the answer is we can; but not at the expense of our home fruits. Home fruits have all the benefits that the imported fruits possess and they have our own cultural importance too.
We are used to eating the fruits that are available in and around our living place and enjoy their medicinal values too. We used to cull the gooseberries that fell on the ground in the wind, guava by climbing, mangoes at our reach, ripe watermelons, hanging ivy gourd fruits, wood apple by throwing stones at them and pulling and tasting the ‘Madras thorn’ etc. during our early lifetime. However, nowadays, we give scant respect to the above-mentioned traditional fruits and alternatively, we go in after the foreign fruits imported by us like we tend to look for bridegrooms settled abroad.
When we enter the fruit shop or mall, our hands automatically reach for imported fruits that are advertised in an appealing manner.
We must understand that our regional fruits contain the micronutrients that we require in our living environment. Essentially, the quality of the fruits will differ from place to place as per the quality of the soil and other natural factors and so also the medicinal value of each fruit. Typical example is the unique banana which contains different medicinal properties in different locations in South Tamil Nadu. Irrespective of age group, all people consume the banana and benefit from it.
Similarly, Nagapuri Orange, Vazhakulam pineapple, banganampalli mango, Nasik grapes and Salem Mangoes are some of the other fruits that are rich in various nutrients and minerals according to the environment in which they are grown.
Production of fruits – India on top:-
It is to be noted that all the fruits that are grown in our country do not owe its origin to India. They would have been brought from other countries earlier and, of course, they grow here according to various and relevant factors like soil, climate, monsoon etc. Some fruits are still available which have been in existence in our country itself. Apart from the usual fruits that are known to us, there are certain region-specific fruits that are known and eaten by the concerned local people with full knowledge of their value, in turn.
Statistics reveals that India is in second position at global level in producing large number of fruits. That is why it is stated that India need not import additional fruits over and above what we are able to get in our own country.
Whose responsibility is this?:-
There are basically two factors responsible for this. One is we have, as parents, failed in our responsibility to educate and enlighten the minds of the youngsters on the value of our fruits. Second is the massive and attractive advertisement campaign that is promoted by the sellers of imported fruits. As a consequence of these deviating and misleading advertisements, our youngsters get unduly attracted to buy foreign fruits whose names are not even familiar with us. Parents should necessarily educate their children on the value of our domestic fruits and encourage them to eat our country fruits so that they will be able to experience their taste and advantages.
Year after year, different varieties of new fruits from abroad throng our markets and nearly 75% of the fruits that are comfortably sold are the imported ones. It keeps on increasing rapidly. Blackberry, red current, blueberry, dragon fruit and such other 20 and more fruits are examples of imported fruits. They are common in super markets wherein those who patronize these fruits do not even bargain the price when they buy; whereas when we buy local fruits from market or directly from the growers, we tend to bargain a lot.
Which is better? Imported or domestic fruits?:-
This question is quite reasonable. It is not compulsory that we should simply reject the imported fruits outright. They have their own values. At the same time, we have in our fruits all rich nutrients in abundance. It is essential that we do realize the presence of various fruits grown in our own country. Being ignorant of this fact, we should not go in after the imported fruits by neglecting ours. In the process, we can save additional expenditure also.
We do have in our midst a plenty of fruits that ensure all kinds of vitamins and minerals including the relevant nutrients that prevent and cure diabetics, anaemia, ulcer etc. Let us not ignore what we have in our hands. We should consume and eat our local and country fruits and promote our well-being consciously.
(This article written in Tamil by Dr V Vikramkumar MD(S) has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)
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