Medicinal rice to be displayed at Rice Utsav

Medicinal rice to be displayed at Rice Utsav

At a Rice Utsav to be held at Gandhi Bhavan here from April 4, a City-based NGO, Sahaja Samrudha will showcase rare and endangered rice varieties, which are vanishing due to high yielding commercial variety.

For a layman, names such as Kari Gajavali, Ambemore, Kalamebattha, Byranellu,  Karikalave might sound strange and unfamilar. These are the paddy varieties found in various parts of the State and possess high medicinal values, but are unfortunately being driven to extinction.

Sahaja Samrudha jointly with the Year of Rice Action (YORA) has now initiated a movement to save these rice varieties by organising a Rice Utsav. “We have nine varieties of medicinal rice which were once grown extensively both in the dryland and Malnad regions. Our event at Gandhi Bhavan will showcase all these varieties and their utility,” said Krishna Prasad of Sahaja Samrudha.

Karigajavali and Ambemore being scented rice from rice belt of Belgaum region are helpful in treating several ailments during pregnancy.

Karigajavali being a black long rice resembles Navara rice, a variety from Kerala. It is called black basmathi in the region for its strong aroma. Ambemore  grown in rainfed areas of Khanapur and surrounding areas of Belgaum has a aroma of raw mango. It is now cultivated by very few farmers and is consumed for common ailments like fever and flu. 

Doddobatha, grown in Bangalore rural district, is popular for its curative value for various sicknesses  including diarrhoea. Karinellu, another variety of Kanakapura taluk in Bangalore district is used as a medicine for jaundice. Red rice varieties like Doddabatha and Doddabairunellu are popular varieties that are used for skin ailments.

Sahaja Samrudha, an association of organic farmers has identified and documented the medicinal rice diversity of Karnataka. It has created a network to preserve the diversity.
Having studied the rice diversity of the State it has initiated a programme to create a germplasm of paddy  to preserve the seed resources available to the farmers and breeders.