Inquiries are being made as to where soya beans are to be had and how they are to be sown and in what ways they are to be cooked.
The leaflet published by the Bombay Health Association was condensed in these columns only recently. I now give below a free translation of the main parts of a Gujarati leaflet published by the Baroda State Food-Survey Office. Its cost is one pice:
"Soya beans grow on a plant from one foot to fifteen inches in height. Every pod has on an average three beans. The plant has many varieties. The bean may be white, yellow, blackish, variegated, etc. The yellow variety has the largest percentage of protein and fat. This variety is more nutritious than meat or eggs. The Chinese eat beans with rice. Soya beans flour may be mixed with ordinary flour in the proportion of 1 to 5 parts of wheat and turned into chapatis.
"Soya bean crop improves the soil. Instead of deriving nitrogen like other plants from the soil, soya bean derives it from the air and thus enriches the soil.
"Soya bean grows in practically all soils. It thrives most in soils favourable to cotton or grain crops. Salt soil improves if soya bean is sown in it. In such soil more manure should be used. Fermented cow-dung, grass, leaves and dung-heap manure are quite serviceable for this crop.
"Temperate climate suits the bean. It thrives where the rainfall is not more than 40 inches. It should not be sown in water-logged soil. The bean is generally sown after the first rains, but it can be sown during any season. In the dry season it requires to be watered once a week, or twice if the soil is inclined to dry quickly.
"The soil is best prepared in summer. It should be ploughed up and exposed to the sun's rays. Then the clods should be broken up and pulverized.
"The seed should be sown in rows twenty-four to thirty-six inches apart. The plants should be three or four inches apart in their rows. There should be frequent weeding. One acre would take from 20 to 30 lb. of seeds. They should not be sown deeper than two inches. One acre will require about 10 cartloads of manure. After the sprouting of the seeds there should be proper weeding with a light plough. All crust should be broken up.
"The pods are ready for picking in 120 days after sowing. They should be picked as soon as the leaves begin to turn yellow and drop off. They should not be allowed to be on the plants till they open, or else the seeds will drop out and be lost in the soil."
So much for the crop.
Now a word as to the results of the experiment being made in Maganwadi.
It is too early to draw deductions as yet. It may be said that the weight of the inmates has kept constant. In a few cases there has been a decided increase in one case as much as 4½ lb. in a fortnight. Ghee has been stopped since the close of the first week. The absence of it has yet made no impression on the weight. One ounce of oil is being issued instead. The ration of beans has been increased for the current week from two ounces to three per head. The bean is served both morning and evening. They are soaked for some hours and then cooked well. Water in which it is steamed is strained out and tamarind and salt added to it. It makes a very popular soup. To the beans after straining are added linseed or til oil and salt making a tasty dish. In the morning the bean is served with chapati or bhakhri and in the evening with rice. The bean requires to be chewed well. No ill effect has yet been reported.