Thursday, 10 November 2011

Traditional Rice Varieties: Disappearance from Tripura



I set it very clear to myself that I was from farming background. I know and experience the phasing movement in Agriculture farming that has been taking place in my area.
Being rooted in farming background, I have come across many appearance, re-appearance and disappearance of many traditional Rice Varieties in my area. I am quite confident that same is the case in all areas of the state.
Having said that, I have come across several traditional Rice Varieties that used to be grown in highland as well as in low lying areas have disappeared from my area.
 There are at least 5(five) to 6 (six) traditional Rice Varieties that were grown in through shifting cultivation and in low lying areas had completely disappeared. I do not know whether these traditional Rice varieties are still exists in other areas or not.
These traditional varieties of rice which used to be grown in shifting cultivation as well as high land and low lying areas were the delight of the people because of cooking quality and flavor of traditional Rice.
I had the experience to visit the rice field in high land where traditional Rice Variety was in dough stage, how charming it was, whole area was scented by that traditional Rice Variety.
But, those traditional scented Rice Varieties have slowly disappeared from the area. This slow disappearance or replacement with new Rice Varieties had started mainly with the following conditions:
·Shifting cultivation declined: The moment, shifting cultivation started declining in the state; these traditional Rice Varieties had been abandoned.
·Low unit yield of traditional Rice Varieties: Traditional rice varieties in a competition for more yields in the unit area had failed with the new and improved varieties of Rice. This has sidelined these traditional Rice varieties.
·Single variety approach: In earlier, a farmer used to grow several varieties of rice in a season for meeting the different requirements. I had the experience to observe that a farmer was growing 3-4 varieties of rice viz: sticky rice variety, puffed rice variety and coarse grain rice variety.
But, now no farmer is growing more the 2(two) varieties of rice, this is the reason many traditional rice varieties had been pushed back and wiped out from the area. 

Conservation of traditional Rice Varieties:

The state Government may initiate to preserve and conserve these traditional Rice varieties which are still available in some parts of Tripura. The department concerned should immediately start the project for establishing gene bank for traditional Rice Varieties otherwise, our future generation will be deprived off from this once favorable stable food and in this case we are to be blamed for our deeds.

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