Agrotech Division

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AVS Agrotech Division is involved in Stevia cultivation. Company is currently working on a pilot project of 6 acres cultivation of organic stevia and inter-cropping of organic products like:

Amla
Neem
Papaya etc.
Company aims to extend this project upto 100 acres by the end of this year (2015-16) in stages.

What is Stevia?

Stevia plants grow and are harvested in many countries around the world, predominantly in China and Brazil. The plants grow 2-4 feet in height with slim, branched stems, and thrive in temperate and some tropical regions. Stevia is grown by natural, conventional plant breeding methods such as cross-pollination and other non-genetically modified processes.

Stevia is an intensely sweet natural sweetener that is harvested around the world from the stevia rebaudiana plant.

Stevia provides an important role in biodiversity due to how little land is required to grow it, allowing farmers to diversify their crops. Unlike commodity crops, stevia is grown on smaller plots of land and provides supplemental income to more commonplace crops.

As stevia is intensely sweet and an extract, it typically requires only a fifth of the land and much less water to provide the same amount of sweetness as other mainstream sweeteners. For example, in Kenya, stevia is typically grown on only a third of the land, with the rest of the land being devoted to other crops.

In a 2013 study, the carbon footprint of stevia was shown to be 79% lower than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), 55% lower than beet sugar, and 29% lower than cane sugar, based on industry production standards.

Although it was not until the 19th century that scientists began seriously investigating stevia, the indigenous people of Paraguay were using the plant as early as the 16th century to sweeten drinks and medicines.

During his studies of herbs used as sweeteners by native people, Dr Moises Santiago Bertoni, a Swiss botanist of Italian descent, is credited with having notified the world of stevia's existence.

French chemists identified stevioside in 1931 and its use expanded. In the 1950s, Japan began growing the stevia plant as a crop.

Countries with a history of using stevioside as a no calorie sweetener include Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Columbia, Thailand, Germany and Malaysia.


Why Stevia?

STUDIES SHOW THAT STEVIA CAN LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE

Elevated blood pressure is a major risk factor for many serious diseases. This includes heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Studies have shown that taking stevioside (one of stevia’s sweet compounds) as a supplement can reduce blood pressure.

One of these studies was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 174 Chinese patients. In this study, patients took either 500 mg of stevioside or placebo (dummy pill), 3 times per day. These were the results after two years in the group taking stevioside:

Systolic blood pressure: went from 150 to 140 mmHg.
Diastolic blood pressure: went from 95 down to 89 mmHg.

In this study, the stevioside group also had a lower risk of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, an enlarging of the heart that can be caused by elevated blood pressure. The stevioside group also had improved quality of life.

There are other studies in both humans and animals showing that stevioside can lower blood pressure.

The mechanism is not well understood, but some researchers have suggested that stevioside may act by blocking calcium ion channels in cell membranes, a mechanism similar to some blood pressure lowering drugs.

Keep in mind that it would be hard to reach these large daily doses with regular use, so just sweetening things with a little stevia here and there probably won’t have such a potent blood pressure lowering effect.


Agrotech Division

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