Rice and fall of great desi crop: India has lost 1.10 lakh traditional varieties

April 23, 2016 0 Comments

Ahmedabad, April 17: Rice varieties that could grow during droughts or floods, tolerate saltwater, and carry distinct aromas or medicinal benefits – India has lost 1.10 lakh such traditional rice types. Some fifty years ago, these varieties abounded in the country, which is striving currently to ensure food security for all. Now, however, only 7,000 odd local varieties remain and not all are grown.

A traditional variety of rice is passed from generation to generation and family to family .”It took almost 12,000 years for these diverse varieties to be created,” said Dr Debal Deb, a rice conservationist and a biologist.”We destroyed or lost them in just 30 years or so. This is the sad state of our heritage.”

Deb has preserved 1,200 desi rice varieties, which were showcased in a unique two-day rice exhibition in Ahmedabad, organized by the Ahmedabad Heritage Venture Lab (AHVL). In all, 1,800 varieties were displayed at the exhibition.”Some varieties can grow without a single drop of water. Others can be grown in ponds that are 3 to 4 feet deep. A few grow even under 12 feet of water,” Deb said. Rice varieties such as Jugal have two rice grains in one kernel, and Sateen has three.