Kalanamak rice, ‘Buddha’s gift to the people’, is now small, strong

The Agricultural Research Institute of India has successfully tested two new dwarf varieties – Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1638 and Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1652 – in Uttar Pradesh and doubled the yield.

The Agricultural Research Institute of India has successfully tested two new dwarf varieties – Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1638 and Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1652 – in Uttar Pradesh and doubled the yield.

Kalanamak, a traditional rice variety with a black husk and strong aroma, believed to have been a gift to the people of Sravasti during the Lord Buddha’s visit to the region after his enlightenment, is set to get a new look and name. A traditional variety grown in 11 districts of the Terai region of northeastern Uttar Pradesh and Nepal has tended to settle as the reason for its low yield.

Lodging is a condition where the upper part of the plant becomes heavy due to grain formation, the stem weakens and the plant falls to the ground. Addressing the problem, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has successfully developed two dwarf varieties of Kalanamak rice. They are named Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1638 and Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1652.

IARI says the new name is in recognition of the institute’s association with the Acharya Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology in Ayodhya, where the two varieties are being tested. The yield of the new varieties is double that of the traditional variety and IARI and the Uttar Pradesh Board of Agriculture are working together to make the seeds available to farmers at the earliest.

Traditional Kalanamak rice is protected by the Geographical Indication (GI) labeling system. It is mentioned in the GI program that Lord Budha gifted Kalanamak paddy to the people of Sravasti so that they would remember it by its fragrance.

High problem

The problem with the traditional variety of Kalanamak rice is that it is tall and prone to lodging, which adversely affects grain filling and quality. As a result, productivity fell sharply and the market for rice also declined. The yield of traditional Kalanamak rice is 2-2.5 tons per hectare.

An area where Kalanamak paddy is grown on an experimental basis in Uttar Pradesh. Image: Custom Adjustment

Director of IARI AK Singh said about this Hindu Their goal was to dwarf the variety and make the plant robust, thus preventing lodging. “The idea was to combine the quality of traditional Kalanamak in high-yielding varieties. Its grains are short. In this process, we carried out a breeding program by introducing dwarf genes from Bindli Mutant 68 rice variety and also Pusa Basmati 1176 gene was used as mother to cross with Kalanamak and the progenies were further back with Kalanamak. restore quality. This is a new mutation,” he said.

The process began in 2007, when the first cross with dwarf varieties was carried out. Over the last three years, IARI has conducted an extensive evaluation in 10 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) located in GI districts. “It was given to farmers in the kharif season. The aroma of the new breed is higher and the nutritional qualities are also excellent. In traditional Kalanamak, productivity has increased from 2.5 tons to 4.5-5 tons per hectare,” said Dr. Singh said.

Tilak Ram Pandey, a farmer from Sidhharth Nagar, said his family has been growing traditional Kalanamak paddy for generations. “We consider this rice prasad of Lord Buddha,” Mr. Pandey said. He tested a new variety on eight hectares of his farm. “For the old variety, the length of the plant is 140 centimeters, and for the new variety, it is between 95-100 centimeters. I will start harvesting on November 20, it will be a good harvest. There was an attack of larvae on paddy, but it was much less than last year.

Encouraging results

Mr. Pandey said that 75% of the farmers used to grow Kalanamak in this area, but of late the market for the variety has shrunk. “Now there is encouragement from the government. Last year I also joined this practice. I gave the knot to scientists and officials who came to my house. The taste is very good. But the old-timers say that the taste will not match the traditional variety.

In Basti, KVK looked at the trials conducted by various farmers and according to its director Prof SN Singh, the result is very good. “Productivity is very good, especially in the lowlands. Compared to the traditional variety, the increase in production is three times. Sowing is usually done in July. Where sowing was done in August, the response was good. We gave seeds to about 150 farmers in Basti. “Kalanamak is planted on nearly 9,000 hectares in Basti,” he added.

In total, Kalanamak is cultivated in about one lakh hectares in Uttar Pradesh.

Prof. Singh said that the KVKs will provide seeds for large-scale cultivation for the next crop season. “Farmers are very satisfied with this seed. We have been testing this for the past three years and have given it to farmers as part of a trial this season. One issue was the attack of a devastating bacterial disease. This has also been addressed by the induction of pest tolerance genes,” he said.

Eminent rice breeder, BN Singh, Chairman, Research and Development Center and former Director of Research, Birsa Agricultural University, Ranchi, is assisting IARI in breeding new varieties. “We have been testing this variety since 2015. Productivity and eating quality are good. In general, this variety is resistant to diseases. Dormitory is excluded,” he said, adding that zinc and iron are higher in Kalanamak than other rice varieties.

“We have given the samples to the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad to know the nutritional compounds and glycemic index. If the glycemic index is low, this variety can also be used by diabetics,” said Dr. Singh.


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