The Return of Folk Rice: What Prompted the Demand?

PTI  |  Updated: July 19, 2017 12:56 IST

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The Return of Folk Rice: What Prompted the Demand?
Having lost the race to high- yielding varieties after the green revolution, a number of indigenous varieties of rice are now making a comeback due to their aromatic taste, low input cost and resilience to climate change.

"More and more consumers are asking for the folk varieties these days as the taste is better. Farmers are also showing a lot of interest in these varieties, which they had once forgotten," said M C Dhara, joint director of agriculture, rice research station, Chinsurah.

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The yield per hectare was lower in traditional varieties, but it was offset by the lower cost of production and the higher price it fetches in the market. Experts say hundreds of farmers in rice growing areas of Burdwan, South and North 24 Parganas, Midnapore, Nadia, Howrah etc. have now left the modern high-yielding varieties, which were popularised during the 1960s and 70s.

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Among the folk varieties, premium variety of aromatic rice Gobindobhog is the most popular and is now grown over 30,000 hectares in Burdwan district, the rice bowl of West Bengal.

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"The cost of production is lesser than the modern varieties as it requires less fertilisers and pesticide," said Anupam Paul, Assistant Director of Agriculture. At the Agriculture Training Centre in Nadia district's Fulia. He has around 300 such folk varieties of rice in his collection, out of which 51 were aromatic. They have been trying to popularise indigenous varieties since the last few years before the seeds get lost forever.

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