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Conserving local varieties

Devendrappa followed the organic method of farming and opted for traditional seeds. Because his village, Kakkera in Yadgir district, is part of the Krishna project, water for irrigation is not at all a problem. Devendrappa opted for many desi varieties of paddy. He took four varieties of local paddy and transplanted paddy seedlings onto a wider plot. He used azolla compost (aquatic plant) and  jeevamrutha (liquid fertiliser) on the crops. This year, he has planted 44 varieties of paddy.

“Sahaja Samruddha, a farmers’ collective has helped me a lot. Also, many farmers offered me seeds of varieties such as Kudrat, Chinniponni, Navara, Gandhasaale etc” recalls Devendrappa. At a recent field day organised on his farm, hundreds of farmers participated. “I remember seeing the Karikalave paddy variety during my childhood. I thought that this variety had disappeared. Devendrappa has managed to conserve it on his farm,” said Subbanna, an old farmer.

“Because of hybrid varieties, we have lost many local varieties. Compared to hybrid varieties, the traditional varieties are more tolerant to pest and disease. Moreover the local varieties have medicinal properties. For instance, Navara rice is used for orthopaedic problems and Karibhatta for herpes. Doddabairunellu rice can help control diabetes.

Farmers like Devendrappa are growing and conserving such desi varieties which is the need of the hour,” says Shanth Kumar, state co-coordinator of ‘Save our Rice’ campaign.

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