Mysuru: Visitors spoilt for choice in rice mela

Mysuru is moving towards ‘Back to roots’, of late. Barely a fortnight after a tuber (literally root) mela was held (January 19 and 20) at the Curzon Park, in the city, a two-day native rice festival (Desi Akki Mela) started on Saturday, on the premises of Command Area Development Authority office, here.

Around 300 farmers from 12 paddy-growing districts of the state have displayed around 250 varieties of native paddy and rice in the mela, organised by the Agriculture Price Commission, Agricultural department, Sahaja Sammrudhi, a NGO encouraging native farming, and Savayava Sanghagala Okkoota (a federation of organic farmers associations).

Each variety of paddy and rice have specific qualities and specific utilities. While some rice varieties have medicinal values, some are sought after for their nutritional values. Some are in demand for unique taste in preparation of specific dishes. Some spread unique fragrance in both raw and cooked form.

While Karigajavali is good for pregnant women, Rajamudi is deemed to be the ‘royal rice’ for daily consumption. Navara, a native of Kerala, has the nutrients to treat fatigue. Korale is famous for its unique taste. Red rice is good for those with diabetic condition. Burma black rice suits preparation of payasa (a semi-liquid sweet dish). Gandhasale is in demand for its unique fragrance.

The mela is an opportunity to see and learn about the uniqueness of native paddy breeds. One can also buy the rice of one’s choice, directly from farmers. The mela has been organised as part of a movement to conserve native breeds of paddy and to encourage farmers cultivating them. Besides, it is a platform to connect the growers with the consumers.

Different breeds

Some of the interesting breeds on display and sale in the meal are: Salem fine rice, Rathnachudi, Navilu Saale, Aluru fine rice, Sannavalya Polish, Coimbatore fine rice, Bangara Kaddi, Mysuru fine rice, Jeerige Sanna, and bamboo rice.

A few varieties are only for display as mass production is yet to start. However, garlands made of paddy, hangings, ornaments and jewels made of paddy, desi rice calendar, sprouts of paddy, saplings and other paddy products were on display and sale.

Agriculture Price Commission Chairman T N Prakash Kammaradi said that the state government has included five recommendations of the commission, in the budget, presented on Friday.

“Farmers growing paddy in rain-fed regions are facing problems. So, rain-fed paddy crop should be declared as a millet, to extend aid and support by the government. This issue would be brought to the notice of the Union government also,” he said.

Krishna Prasad of Sahaja Sammrudhi, said, “Efforts are on to get Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Rajamudi rice, which was a favourite of the erstwhile Wadiyar kings of Mysuru. There is a movement with concerted efforts by various organisation to get the GI tag.” 

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Mysuru: Visitors spoilt for choice in rice mela

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