Bamboo rice beckons visitors at seed festival in Mysuru

Rice produced once in 60 years has regular takers; indigenous rice varieties from Kerala another attraction

Bamboo rice beckons visitors at seed festival in Mysuru

It is once in 60 years, bamboo in forests flowers and dies. The flowers wither and produce a variety of rice called ‘Bamboo rice’. Brownish in colour, it is collected only by the deft hands of tribals. The forest produce also has medicinal qualities.

Now, bamboo rice is available at the Seed Festival, organised by Sahaja Samruddha at Nanjaraj Bahadur Choultry on Vinoba Road here. The two-day festival will conclude on Thursday.

Panduranga Bhat from Kasargod, a district in Kerala with a considerable number of Kannadiga population, has put bamboo rice and its sub-products — flour and ‘thambittu’ (akin to laddoo) — on sale.

Bhat told Deccan Herald that buoyed by an overwhelming response to bamboo rice that is available only once in 60 years, he has brought 70 kg of it. During a recent exhibition-cum-sale event held in Mysuru, he had sold an equal quantity of rice.

Bhat said he could only sell 15 kg when he introduced the particular variety of rice two years ago in the city. The following year, he could sell 20 kg, five kg more when compared to previous year. This year, there is a quantum jump at 70 kg.

Price wise, it is sky high with one kg of rice priced at Rs 600. To make it easy for the consumers, it is sold in packets weighing 250 gram each. Its flour is sold at Rs 150 for a packet, each weighing 200 gram.

On medicinal qualities, Bhat explained, “Unlike other varieties of rice, bamboo rice is direct --- from nature to consumers. It helps in maintaining sugar and cholesterol level, besides checking the fluctuating blood pressure (BP). For women suffering from arthritis, it brings a great relief,” he said.

Basavaraj, a retired employee of BSNL, who has been regularly buying rice and its sub-products since two years said, “The consumption of bamboo rice has helped me in controlling varying BP level”.

It is advised to consume its flour with either cold or hot water. One teaspoon of flour is suffice, especially for diabetics. It also helps in the growth of children, Bhat added.

Bhat said he learnt about the rice from the epics like Mahabharatha and Ramayana. Tribals, who have better knowledge of it, feed on it. Bhat, along with his like-minded relatives Umesh and Prashanth, claims to have bought 20 tonnes of rice from Mandhya Pradesh. It was initially sold at Rs 400 per kg that has shot up to Rs 600.

Similarly, Thanal, an environmental organisation from Kerala, has displayed 60 varieties of rice. Five years ago, the organisation launched ‘Save Our Rice’ campaign and has so far promoted 198 varieties of rice including, 164 indigenous varieties, in the God’s own country, Rineesh, its field officer, said.

Besides exhibits on benefits for agriculturists, seeds of vegetables, fruits and also flowers are available in packets at Rs 10, besides organic jaggery, pickles, sweet potato among others. Books on agriculture, recording successful experiments of farmers, are also available.

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