Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Home India Black Rice cultivation? How a local farmer makes it a success story...

Black Rice cultivation? How a local farmer makes it a success story in Assam

According to experts, black rice used to be known as forbidden rice in ancient China

If you presume that rice comes in shades of white, you are definitely wrong! In the Goalpara district of Assam, black rice farming is not uncommon and over 200 farmers are opting for black rice over the other varieties of rice.

The black rice farming was started by a single farmer about four years ago, later it became fancy and more farmers are turning to it instead of the traditional white rice.

Young farmer Upendra Rabha of Aamguripara village near Dudhnoi in the district started cultivating black rice in 2011 as an experiment with guidance from the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK). Although the people of the area, mostly belonging to the Rabha community, did not believe in Upendra, the experiment turned out to be a grand success in the very first year. The number of cultivators now stands at over 200 as black rice fetches more returns for its nutritional value.

“In 2011, a scientist of KVK, Dr. Uttam Kumar Baruah, gave me the seeds of a black rice variety called Oryza Sativa. I planted the sole seedling in a corner of my paddy field, which gave me 15 panicles from which I harvested 150 gram seed in 2011,” Upendra, who harvested about 48 kg of paddy from the 150 gram seeds the next year, told this correspondent.

“The farmers in our area have been cultivating only traditional white rice and they have never heard about black rice. The people of the area did not believe that the black rice could change their fate. However, my efforts brought results in 2012 when I could get 48 kg of black rice.

600px-Kalbhat
Crop. Image source: Wikipedia

“I took my produce to agri-horticulture fairs organized by the government of Assam and other parts of the state and only then could I realize the huge demand for the black rice,” said a happy Upendra. The next year he cultivated black rice in five bighas of land which resulted in nearly 1,500 kg of paddy.
Black rice is known for its high nutritional value and is a source of iron, vitamin E, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium and zinc. According to experts, black rice used to be known as forbidden rice in ancient China. Forbidden not because it looked poisonous because of its black colour, but because of its high nutritional value, which meant it could only be eaten by the emperor and other nobles.

Sticky in nature, black rice is also suitable for making porridge and can also be used in preparing sweet dishes.

“In 2014, 50 farmers of my village came together for community farming of black rice. We have cultivated in about 100 bighas of land and the yields were eight maunds (300 kg) of rice per bigha of land. We sold it at Rs.100 per kg till last year (for a total earning of Rs.300,000),” he said adding that last year about 100 farmers of Dudhnoi area had cultivated black rice in 500 bighas of land and got a good yield.

“What is more important is the price factor. With the traditional white rice, we had a small market; we have a bigger market for black rice. The existing price of Rs.100 per kg is also another factor which is encouraging more farmers to take up black rice cultivation here. Last year an organization came from Mumbai to see our paddy field and they bought 100 quintals (10,000 kg) of black rice from us to be exported to different European countries,” Upendra said.

“We are also getting queries from different organizations in the US, Japan and Korea who want to buy the black rice from us,” he said, adding that he has been urging farmers in Assam and Meghalaya to grow black rice to bring prosperity to them

With the initial success, the Assam government’s agriculture department is now planning to promote the cultivation of organic black rice in larger parts of Assam.

The agriculture officer of the Dudhnoi sub-division, Manoranjan Das, said that what the farmers here are growing is basically the semi-organic variety.

“We are encouraging the farmers to grow organic variety which will further increase the demand. While the non-organic variety of black rice fetches Rs.200 to Rs.250 per kg in foreign countries, the organic variety sells at Rs.500 per kg,” Das said, adding that according to a study by the Louisiana State University, a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants, which are capable of fighting cancer and heart disease. (IANS)

ALSO READ

STAY CONNECTED

19,518FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Study: Working From Home Is Expensive

The benefits of working from home — including skipping a long commute and having a better work-life balance — have been well documented, but employees are literally paying for the...

What Effect Does Social Media Have on Our Lives?

By- Khushi Bisht Humans are social beings. Being socially associated with others helps reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and bring warmth and pleasure into our lives....

Patients Treated With Antipsychotic Drugs At Lower Risk Of Covid19 Infection

Patients treated with antipsychotic drugs have a lower risk of becoming infected or suffer a milder form of SARS-CoV-2 -- the virus causing Covid-19...

US Scientists Translate The Structure Of A Spider Web Into Music

A team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US has translated the structure of a spider web into music,...

Is New Kashmir Becoming A National Sports Hub?

While inaugurating the first Water Sports Centre adopted by his Ministry in Kashmir last week, Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports...

How Science Can Be As Comforting as Religion

BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY For decades, it seemed as if religion was attempting to teach us truths about the universe and just got things a bit...

Doomsday Glacier May Be Melting Faster Than Expected

The supply of warm water to Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, also known as the "doomsday glacier", is larger than previously thought, triggering concerns of faster...

A Better Nasal Swab For Covid-19 Testing Developed In US

A Q-tip cotton swab inserted into your nose to gauge the presence of Covid-19 infections is a pain and not a pleasant experience. Now,...

Recent Comments