In Meghalaya, a four-day international symposium on buckwheat with the theme ‘diversifying food systems for health and nutritional security’ is currently underway at North Eastern Hills University, Shillong.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Governor of Meghalaya Tathagata Roy said, the flour of buckwheat can be used either as food or as medicine. As a medicine, buckwheat is used to improve blood flow by strengthening veins and small blood vessels; to treat varicose veins and poor circulation in the legs, and to prevent hardening of the arteries.
Buckwheat is also used widely as a cover crop to smother weeds and improve the soil. The crop seems to improve soil tilth and is reported to make phosphorous more available as a soil nutrient, possible through root-associated mycorrhizae. Buckwheat suppresses weeds and attracts beneficial insects and pollinators with its abundant blossoms. It extracts soil phosphorus from the soil better than most grain-type cover crops. Buckwheat thrives in cool, moist conditions, but it is not frosted tolerant.
Buckwheat is a relatively low input crop that has relatively high yields even in marginal soil. Since it adds nutrients to the soil, it makes a good cover crop or rotational crop.