Debal Deb, India’s rice warrior, finds rice species containing medicinal properties
Ahmedabad, April 16: Nicknamed “India’s Rice Warrior”, a plant scientist-turned-farmer, Dr Debal Deb on Saturday said he has discovered a traditional rice variety from West Bengal that contains “silver” and has medicinal properties.
Addressing an audience at a private management school where 1200 traditional varieties of rice conserved by Deb since 1996 are on display, the popular conservationist said, “Some time back, I got a rice variety from a farmer in Birbhum district of West Bengal. We found that this variety — Garib Sal — contains 15 milligram/kilogram of silver which it assimilates directly from the soil. No other plant species is known to assimilate silver naturally,” said Deb who is a member of the expert committee on agrobiodiversity at the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and has also founded “Virhi” (Sanskrit for rice) — India’s largest nongovernmental folk rice gene bank that conserves traditional rice varieties.