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Desi rice mela in Bengaluru city

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BANGALORE: To highlight rich rice diversity in the country and to create awareness about nutritious value of different varieties of rice, city-based NGO, Sahaja Samrudha, NABARD, Save Our Rice Campaign and Pristine Organics will organise a three-day ‘Desi Rice Mela’ in the city from April 6. Over 200 varieties of indigenous rice from different parts of the state including from Shimoga, the rice bowl of Karnataka, will be on the display at the mela.

At a time when there is a heated discussion on the genetically modified crops, this mela is important as a lot of organic grown rice varieties will be on display.
“Before the Green Revolution, India had over 1 lakh rice varieties. The traditional varieties lost their identitiy with importance being given to a few high-yielding hybrid rice varieties. Also the heavy reliance on fertiliser have damaged the ecosystem,” Krishnaprasad of Sahaja Samruddhi said.
The rice festival is being organised for the fourth time consecutively and is expected to bring together rice-savers, policy-makers, farmers, mill owners, organic rice sellers and other stakeholders.
A CD on farmer scientist Dr Debal Deb, who has conserved over 700 varieties of rice will be released during the Mela.
Research studies have indicated that rice products have anti-cancer properties and the potential to treat other conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones and heart disease.
Varieties like Karibatha are said to be used for curing herpes and Karikalave is a special variety with the medicinal properties and is usually served to lactating mothers, as it is high in calcium content. Navara, a variety of Kerala, has anti-carcinogenic property, especially against breast cancer.
Gandhasale, Gamgadale and Jeeriga samba, scented varieties, Burma black rice, Rajamudi, the most popular variety of Wodeyar, the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore, will also be on display during the three-day mela.

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