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A D O W N T O E A R T H S U P P L E M E N T
JANUARY 15, 2004
A P O N D E R I N G PA N D I T J I
Dear Gobar Times Readers,
Next time you get a wonderful whiff of freshly cooked Basmati rice, remember this:
In 1997, the Texas based RiceTec Inc. obtained Patent No. 5663484 from the US
Patent Office on Basmati rice lines and grains. So?
India possesses tremendous diversity in rice varieties reflecting the culmination
of centuries of informal breeding and evolution by the farmers of this country. Tilll
recently, farmers grew over 30,000 varieties of rice. Will small farmers in Asia be
having to pay royalties to a multinational company each time they grow and eat rice?
The UN has declared the year 2004 as the International Year of Rice and this
month in January the World Social Forum comes to India. People from around the
world are gathering at Mumbai to question and change the way the world grows its
food, does business, science and trade that harms people and the environment. We
hope you also believe that ‘Another world is possible’! Now let me get back to my
steaming dal chawal...
– Pandit Gobar Ganesh
Did you know that...
q 98 per cent of the world’s rice is grown in Asia.
q 91 per cent of the world’s rice is eaten in Asia.
q Rice is the staple food of three of the world's four
most populous nations: China, India and Indonesia.
That’s 2.5 billion people!
q More than 1 billion people depend on rice for their
livelihood. Most of these farmers are in Asia.
q In Asia, more than 2 billion people obtain 60-70%
of their caloric intake from rice and its
q The Himalayas are the cradle for modern rice. Rice
cultivation spread from the Indian subcontinent.
The story of a grain: from land to mouth
q The complete rice genome map is with Myriad
Genetics, an American company and Syngenta of
q The patent for Golden rice, enriched with
beta-carotene, could help reduce Vitamin A defi-
ciency, a leading cause of blindness in Asian children,
is with the West
q The patent for India’s Basmati is with RiceTec, an
q US is one of the biggest exporters of rice
q Asian rice is sold at very low rates in the
international market, while Western rice is priced
82 Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement
The South - North Rice Divide
“Uhhh... ummmm... “Rice =
Genes? Patents? What’s the Decoding the genetic code =
need? But haven’t our Rice Genome =
people been using these So many hybrids =
varieties for So many patents =
centuries? Wait... Asian market monopoly =
Drat! we just lost $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!”
Desi Nopatentlal Ricetec Tecchie
I hear rice originated in "Basmati. Kasmati. Texmati.
Himalayas. It went from You name it. We stock it. We
India to rest of world. deliver it. We export it.
We have been growing Anyone else who does so
Basmati for centuries. But should be locked up for
I hear that in future, illegal trade. Up with
we may have to pay the World Trade
big dollars to grow Organisation!"
and export our own Real Deal Basmatiman
rice. Can this be? Farji Basmatiwallah
"Dal-chawal, biryani, dosa, idli, kheer... "Rice? Ya, you get it fried in those fancy
yum! Rice is our present. Rice is our Chinese restaurants. By the way, Economy
History. It is our Sociology, Tradition and is greater than History,
Lifeline. In India, no ritual is complete Sociology and Tradition
without using akshata (rice coloured with put together. We
haldi)" control world trade.
We’ll grab the rice
Bharati Riceplate Yankee Wheatman
“Rice cultivation is long, “Growing rice is cool. Plough
laborious. Seed is the field with a tractor. Flood
sown somewhere, it. Drop soaked rice seeds
transplanted from a plane. It takes us one
elsewhere. I can day in man-hours to grow a
do 1 acre in 3 tonne of paddy. (It takes
days. Ploughing, Asia 100 days to do the
manuring, flooding, same!)
is all done by hand.” Chawal Paaniwallah McRice farmer
Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement 83
Waterworld It takes 5000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of rice!
In an age where rapidly growing populations are competing for limited
supplies of water, it remains to be seen how long Asia can sustain growth in
rice production in the 21st century with that kind of ratio.
The Many Labours of Rice grains are separated from the stalk) and milled (that is,
More than 1 billion people in the world make the husk is removed).
their living from rice. That's because rice farming
isn't as simple as sowing the seed and growing it Water, Water Everywhere
normally. Rice is extremely labour-intensive, but it gives more
First, rice seed is sown onto a carefully prepared employment than other crops, a boon to the
starter bed. Then the rice field is manured, flooded over-populated regions of Asia. However, the major
and ploughed. When the seedlings gain a certain cause of concern is that rice is a water-guzzler. With
height, they are transplanted from the bed to field by the amount of water needed for one acre of rice, you
hand. A single experienced farmer will take 3 days to could irrigate 3 acres of wheat and 5 acres of
transplant one acre, though this is always done by vegetables. More than 80 per cent of rice lands in the
many people working together. world are rain fed and grow only one crop a year. So,
Then the field is hand-weeded and flooded. The if the rains fail, even that crop is gone.
field has to remain flooded for 3-6 months. Harvesting And how much water can be diverted for rice
is done by hand. Then the rice has to be threshed (the irrigation at a time when fresh water is running short
More than 1 billion people make their livelihood from rice
84 Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement
for human consumption? Already around Beijing,
farmers are not allowed to grow rice in flooded fields
The second World Social Forum in Porto
due to a shortage of water. If that is a taste of things
Alegre in Brazil in 2002 opened under the
to come, then it's bad news for India.
theme of "Another world is possible".
Delegates exchanged views on
Doing More With Less alternatives and solutions with each other.
In the future, rice production must grow to keep pace
A group from Brazil adopted organic rice
with the growing population with better and more
growing techniques from China. Using
efficient use of water, land and labour. At the same
this method, in the
time, losses incurred during production, transporta-
same pond, fish and
tion and processing have to be reduced.
rice can be symbiotic,
One way to reduce the amount of water required
for cultivation is by the development of varieties called
need for fertilizers
"aerobic rice", that are better suited for dry soils.
Scientists have been trying to develop, genetically, rice
that would yield several times the current types
"almost anytime and anywhere in the torrid zone".
The concurrent use of rice-field water both for Without flooded fields?!
irrigation and aquaculture is another good idea.
Another basic, but unpopular measure would be to Without pesticides?!
make farmers pay for all the water they use in the Masanobu Fukuoka is the
rice-fields. That would encourage water conservation. pioneer of "natural farming",
Schemes like this are already underway in China.
which could reverse the degener-
India exported 1,532,600 tonnes of rice in 2000. If
ative momentum of modern agri-
that was equated with exporting 7663 billion litres of
culture. It requires no machines
water, one would get a fair idea of the magnitude of
and no chemicals. He grows
high-yielding crops of rice simply
by scattering seed onto an unplowed field!
From his book The One-Straw Revolution: "The
basic idea came to him one day as he hap-
pened to pass an old field which had been left
With the unused and unplowed for many years. There
he saw healthy rice seedlings sprouting
through a tangle of grasses and weeds. From
for one acre then on, he stopped flooding his field in order
to grow rice. He stopped sowing rice seed in
of rice, you spring and, instead, put the seed out in the
could autumn, sowing it directly onto the surface of
the field when it would naturally have fallen to
irrigate 5 the ground. Instead of plowing the soil to get
rid of weeds, he learned to control them by a
acres of more or less permanent ground cover of white
vegetables. clover and a mulch of rice and barley straw.
Once he has seen to it that conditions have
been tilted in favour of crops, Mr Fukuoka
interferes as little as possible with in his fields.”
Rice fields covered 1.5 million square kms of land in 2002
Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement 85
RICE: The starchy seeds or grain of an annual marsh grass,cultivated in warm climates and used for food. 'Rice' comes from the Tamil word arisi. Arab traders took arisi with them Old Japanese saying "He who
and called it al-ruz. This became arroz in Spanish and oriza in Greek. In French it became riz, Italian riso, German reis and finally in English rice. The biological name for rice, oryza, also comes from arisi.
wastes rice will either
130 million years ago... 3500 years ago: In Africa, a domestic strain was
developed from wild rice.
1st to 11th Centuries AD: Arab traders took rice from
India to Iran and then Egypt. From there it went to
1609: America received its first shipment.
Early 18th Century: Czar Peter I first imported rice
become blind, go to hell
Wild rice started growing on this planet. 3000 years ago: Rice was introduced to Japan from Spain and Sicily. The Moors took it to Portugal. into the country from Iran. or be ground to powder!"
15000 years ago: The “indica” variety of wild rice eastern China. 639 AD: Rice was first cultivated in the Nile Valley.
grew on the northern and southern slopes of the 543 BC: Indica entered Sri Lanka and then made its 1468: From Italy, rice reached Bulgaria, And today... Thus spake Confucious "If you
Himalayas. It spread to northern and eastern way to Malaya and Java. Centuries after, Asian Yugoslavia and Romania. It is grown in all continents except Antarctica.
India, Southeast Asia and to southern China. rice also reached Africa via Java. 1522: Mexico received its first shipment. Source: The Story of Rice by R D Sharma, NBT have old rice to eat, water
to drink and a pillow
Food for millions
to rest your arm,
all is joy."
ORYZA SATIVA: When one grain was enough
Sage Durvasa and hundreds of his
disciples visited the Pandavas
when they were in exile in the
forest. Durvasa told Draupadi that
they were all hungry. Draupadi was
THE KING OF CEREALS at her wits end for there was
nothing in her kitchen. Fearful of
Durvasa's temper and his habit of
q Rice is tolerant to desert, throwing curses, she requested the
sage and his disciples to take bath
in a nearby river.
hot, humid, flooded, dry and Then Draupadi prayed to
Krishna for help. Krishna came and
cool conditions. said he was hungry too! Not know-
ing what to do, Draupadi brought
the empty food vessel. And there
q It is the only cereal which attached to the back of the vessel
was a grain of rice! Krishna put it in
can grow in deep water. his mouth and satisfied his hunger.
The Lord of the Universe had eaten
enough; and with this was satisfied
q It can grow in saline, the appetite of the whole world!
At the riverbank, Durvasa and
alkaline and acidic soils. his disciples suddenly felt their
stomach full. They left without ever
bothering Draupadi any more.
q In Nepal it grows 2750 When a little rice was worth the world
metres above sea level and Krishna was so pleased with his
childhood friend Sudama's gift of
two handfuls of roasted rice that in
in some places in Kerala, return he gave him the Earth and
3 metres below sea level ! If his queen Rukmini had not
stopped him, he would have given
Sudama the Cosmos as well.
86 Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement
Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement 87
The Patent and the Poor
So the rice genome doesn't go to Asia. Big deal. The
developed world is patenting most of the developing
world's biodiversity anyway. So what's so different this
time around? Well, the difference is that 80 per cent
of the world's rice is grown by small-scale farmers in
low-income and developing countries. And they can't
afford to pay for new expensive technology. Syngenta
had declared that it wouldn’t be patenting the rice
gene, but would patent "any useful pro-
cesses that may be related to the
gene". But it's not as simple as it
controls The World Trade
on Trade Related
Aspects of Inte-
tionals the right
genie? to claim absolute
ownership over rice
Today, there are
more than 600 biotech
patents on rice genes,
In January 2001, the entire genome of rice plants and breeding methods
all over the world. Western corpo-
was mapped, the first major cereal crop to rations and research labs hold 90 per
cent of these patents. So in effect, they can
have its genetic code unraveled. This feat control and force Asian farmers to pay for the use of
genetic resources and knowledge which originated
was accomplished by Myriad Genetics of from them.
The famous Basmati case is one such example
the US and Syngenta of Switzerland. These (See box Basmati Blues).
Another example is the promise of "Golden rice".
two companies now hold the key to the This rice is genetically engineered to produce high
levels of beta-carotene, which helps reduce Vitamin A
future of rice harvests in Asia. deficiency, a leading cause of blindness among poor
Chinese scientists bred the world’s first hybrid rice in 1974
88 Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement
But even the patent for that is with the West.
At WSF 2003, Canadian farmer Percy
Schmeiser gave a moving testimonial on
Power to the Farmers patents. But who is he? In 1998, Schmeiser
Most genebanks are held by corporations which the
was sued by Monsanto for patent rights
common farmer has no access to. Community violations, allegedly for using Monsanto's
genebanks, on the other hand, secure people's control genetically modified rapeseed without
over genetic resources. Seeds can be produced locally, legally purchasing it. Schmeiser claims the
protecting the farmers' autonomy. rapeseed came to his farm as a result of
One such bank is the Konkan rice project in "contamination" — wind blown seeds
Maharashtra. It started when farmers noticed from other farms taking root on his soil.
stagnation in rice yields, despite putting Monsanto says how the
more fertilisers, pesticides and seeds got there
herbicides. They found that doesn't matter, it's
rice cultivation based on their property and
minimal genetic diversity they asked for $400,000
led pest proliferation, in damages for patent
which in turn called infringement!
for more pesticides.
250 seeds of
indigenous vari- Basmati Blues
eties in the In 1997, RiceTec, an American multinational, was
region were granted the right to call a variety of aromatic rice
collected, cata- 'Basmati'. Since Basmati has been grown for
logued and centuries in the foothills of the Himalayas, this
stored. The pro- flagrant act of biopiracy was met surprise and angry
protests in India and Pakistan. But at stake is the
multi-crore rupee export market to West. India
There are more than 600 alone exported 8.48 lakh tonnes of basmati rice in
2000-01. (RiceTec filed for the patent in 1994, but
biotech patents on rice genes, the government of India did not take any action for
the 3 years that the patent was pending)
plants and breeding methods
RiceTec also chose to name a brand 'Jasmati',
even though it has no genetic relation to Thai
ject, which evolved under the guidance of Jasmine rice or Indian Basmati. Thailand claims that
Dr RH Richharia, breeds hybrids to improve produc- the usage of the term will purposely mislead
tivity. Several successful crosses have been performed. consumers into believing
Cloning technology is practiced for large-scale multi- that its rice is a cross
plication of rice seeds. And all this is easily accessible between the two varieties.
to local farmers. More than five million
It is in community genebanks that the Asian farmers in Thailand depend
farmers have the best chances for controlling future on Jasmine rice for a living.
rice yields. Their livelihood is in danger
That’s the best chance that they can take on the if RiceTec eats into the
multinationals and protect their own interests. Jasmine rice market.
Community genebanks could protect the farmers’ autonomy
Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement 89
“The struggle of the 'East' versus the 'West' in Asia is in part a race for
production, and rice is the symbol and substance of it.” – Foreign Affairs, 1953
Here's some food for thought. The US has just 0.79 per cent of the world's rice land
under cultivation and with that it controls 12.7 per cent of the rice exports. With more
and more patents going to American multinationals, that figure could rise dramatically
in the next couple of decades.
US Foreign Policy and Rice
Hybrids and genetically modified rice
crops have transformed the entire
rice industry of the developing world
in the second half of the twentieth
century. While the debate rages on
whether that has contributed
to the overall good of the region, it
is interesting to study the linkage
between US post-war foreign
policy and rice. The book Rice
Science and Development Politics
explains this in detail.
When America looked to the
developing world after the Second
World War, it was concerned with
two issues. The first was econo-
mics. It sought new frontier mar-
kets and came to the conclusion
that it wouldn't get good trading
partners unless the issue of food
security was sorted out. The second
was ideology. The US was scared
that "unstable" nations would lean
So in the fifties, rice production
was put at the centre of an
American strategy to address
food insecurity and political
In Myanmar, people eat half a kilogram of rice a DAY
90 Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement
unrest. The Rockefeller and Ford foundations patron-
“Henry Saragih, an Indonesian delegate
ised the International Rice Research Institute, which in
to the World Social Forum in 2001, cited
turn led to the Green Revolution and dramatic rise in
the example of low rice prices (the result
the production of rice (and wheat).
of imports of the grain from the United
States), which are devastating the rice
Chemicals and Credit farmers in his country.
However, traditional practices that had been
The same dynamic affects European
practiced for centuries were thrown out unceremoni-
farmers, who face bankruptcy from a sys-
ously. In came rice varieties that required high inputs tem that favours only the big farms, said
of pesticides and fertilizers, for which farmers had to Egidio Brunetto, a leader of
rely on credit. It has also replaced diversity with Brazil’s Movimento
uniformity and transformed farmers into mere dos Sem Terra’
farm workers. (landless movement)
All the "miracle" rice varieties produce little in the underscoring their
absence of liberal doses of chemical fertilisers and common struggle
costly pesticides. And today they dominate the market. worldwide.”
Extensive use of pesticides has also led to contami-
nation of agricultural land and groundwater all across
in developing countries.
High Price. Low Price
Capturing The Seed Market America and India handle their rice markets
Interestingly, the commercial rice seed market is the very differently. While the US pampers its
only rice market where Asia doesn't dominate, farmers and pushes the rice price as up as it
accounting for less than a quarter of the $32 billion can to maximise its profits, India penalises its
market. But there are other issues involved. marketeers if they don’t keep the rice price
Multinational seed corporations all run rice down so that the poor can afford it.
programmes in a bid to dominate and expand the That illustrates the rich-poor country divide
seed market. Hybrids power seed markets. Most of in rice. Wealthier countries use a combination
these do not reproduce and so force farmers to of domestic market interventions and border
purchase new seeds every season. Rice, however, is a protection or export subsidies depending on
self-pollinating crop, making hybrid rice seed produc- whether they are importers or exporters.
tion costly and difficult, and nearly all rice in Asia is still In contrast, poor developing countries in
grown with farmer-saved seed. The seed industry Asia tax rice producers, with domestic prices
believes that the combination of genetic engineering often less than three-fourths of world prices.
and patents can overcome this hurdle. Domestic controls are aplenty and diverse.
Through patents and contractual agreements, seed Most of these countries have some form of
companies will seek to prohibit farmers from sharing price support system. These support prices are
or saving seed, control what pesticides are used and almost always below the international prices.
even assert ownership rights over the harvest. (Rice Trade Liberalisation and Poverty, Gulati and Narayanan, EPW)
Formation Boom in
RED US fear of
RICE instability issues
The average European eats about 3 kgs of rice a YEAR
Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement 91
Hot hot rice!
CARBON DIOXIDE (CO 2 ) WATER VAPOUR (H 2 O)
HYDROXYL RADICAL (OH)
METHANE (CH 4 )
Grow rice and contribute to global warming!
Strange but true. Paddy fields emit methane, a greenhouse gas.
Developed countries twisted this fact to show that developing
countries’ emissions matched their’s, but they didn’t get away with it.
Green gas Rice fields emit methane, which reacts in the atmosphere to become
carbon dioxide and water vapour. All three are greenhouse gases (GHGs). But it’s not
as simple as that. Methane emissions come from a lot of sources. Finding the exact
amount from rice fields is very tricky. In 1990, the Panel on Climate Change estimated
THEY ALL EMIT METHANE
methane production from paddy fields as 110 million tones (mt), this was revised to 60
Paddy cultivation mt in 1992 and 37 mt in 1994. But even that was contested by India.
Who's the real culprit? The World Resources Institute in 1990 tried to show
livestock that the annual GHG emissions of developing countries were the same as the West! The
Biomass burning Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) argued that it was important to differentiate
between “survival emissions” like rice cultivation and cattle rearing, which employs
Coal mining poor farmers and feeds millions and “luxury emissions” like driving cars.
Natural gas and
Sinking Logic: The WRI also failed to account for the Earth’s ecological sinks —
oil production its vegetation and oceans — properly. The WRI apportioned the sinks on the basis of a
Coal Mining country’s share in global emissions. So the biggest polluters got the biggest share of the
sinks! CSE allocated sinks according to population as every human being has an equal
right to sinks in the world. The differences were startling.
See-saw figures: The WRI formula put the net emissions at 10.3% for India and
China and also 10.3% for Brazil. The CSE figure for India and China crashed to 0.6%
and zoomed to 18.2% for Brazil! America’s share went up from 17% to 27.4%.
92 Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement
How it's made: To make parboiled rice, rice is first soaked in
water after which the excess water is drained off. It is then steamed,
dried and pounded to remove the husk. Thanks to this, the outer
layer turns hard and does not break during milling. Its appearance
becomes yellowish and glossy.
What it does: In technical terms, rough rice, becomes gela-
tinized by hydrothermal treatment, improving the cooking qualities
and producing a shift of the vitamin's and nutritive substances
towards the inside, so that it retains a higher nutritional value.
A little bit of history: In 1882, when a Japanese ship returned
after a nine-month voyage, 25 of its 276-member crew were dead.
The rest were listless. They had eaten boiled rice three times a day but
This Indian innovation saved this was polished ice from a mill and had its nutritive outer layer
sailors from beri-beri removed. The same symptoms were also noticed in Malaysian and
Javanese sailors. The disease was called “beri-beri”, which means
"Parboiled rice", which is more “extreme weakness” in Sinhalese. On being fed mill rice even hens fell
ill, but recovered when given parboiled rice! In polishing and making
nutritious than any other form
rice glossy, vitamins were lost. Not so in parboiled rice.
of rice and retains a better
shape after cooking, is India's
Vitamins discovered: The “lost vitamin” was
Vitamin B. Before this discovery, nobody knew
gift to the world. Today, a fifth about vitamins. Christiaan Eijkman was the
first to research this and got the Nobel
of the world's rice is parboiled. Prize in 1929.
However, the Swiss
And today: Thanks to the
multinational Nestles has got Nestles patent, once the World
the European patent for Trade Organisation comes
fully into effect, indigenous
parboiled rice, even though the parboiled rice could become
a pirated product in export
practice has been going on in
markets, and one day in
India for centuries. India too!
Dal + chawal = Complete khana
Rice is a rich source of dietary energy and a lot of vitamins. Unmilled
rice is high on dietary fibre. But rice alone cannot supply all of the nutri-
ents necessary for adequate nutrition. Fish is a useful addition to the diet
as it provides large amounts of essential amino acids (proteins) and
micronutrients. For vegetarians, pulses, such as beans, groundnuts and
lentils, are also nutritional complements to the rice-based diet and help to
complete the amino acid profile.
Many traditional dishes throughout the world combine these ingredients to
achieve better nutritional balance. So if you eat either dal aur chawal or rice and fish
curry, you are eating a wholesome meal.
Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement 93
Gobar Times Project Be a GT Rice Reporter!
Investigate and discover
India is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of crop diversity.
Over hundreds of years of farming in different ecological settings, the farm-
ers of India have bred and grown thousands of varieties of rice. So many varieties
and so many ways to grow them!
This genetic wealth is fast eroding. People living in cities today are ignorant of this fact and are
not concerned. After reading this issue of GT, we hope you feel strongly about this and wish to change the
state of affairs. To begin with atleast we can collect and document this ecological history of our country.
Every region in India has a different story to tell. Why don’t you investigate the rice scene in your locality? Find
out the types of rice available in your local area, how farmers grow them and ask them how things have
changed. Interview your local grocer, visit your towns wholesale market, ask your grandparents of the kinds
of rice they ate...
What's the colour, size of grain and quality? Cheap? Expensive?
Long, medium or round? No market for it? Why not?
Broken grains or not?
What's the local name?
What does the name tell us?
Why are farmers no longer
growing traditional varieties? Taste? Smell?
What special ecological characteristics
Any health benifits?
does this variety have?
Grows under drought conditions? Who grows these local
Under water? In saline water? varieties?
Who grows these local varieties? What's the religious and cultural
Why grow them at all? significance? Any anecdotes?
We wish this to be a collaborative and voluntary effort between GT readers across the county and us. Anyone
can participate - an individual, a family, a class or school. Feel free to contact us for any clarifications or help
you may want. We will compile all your reports and publish the results in a forthcoming issue. All participants
will get a surprise gift. Last date for submission: 15 March 2004
Send your 'Rice India' project reports to:
Gobar Times, Centre for Science and Environment, 41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi 110062.
Fax: (011) 2995 5879 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
94 Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement
India is home to one of the greatest diversities of both wild and cultivated crops
It is claimed that around 4,00,000 varieties of rice existed in India during the
Dr Richharia, a well know rice scientist, has collected and identified 20,000
varieties of rice in the Chhattisgarh area of Madhya Pradesh alone
75% of Indian rice production comes from 10 rice varieties – out of 30,000 that
existed a few decades ago
Most indigenous varieties are resistant to pests, require less farm inputs like
fertilizers and pesticides and they yield straw that is valuable to the farmer as
cattle feed and roofing material
While rice is just oryza sativa
in Latin; the names of
some of the varieties in
local languages tell
far more about the
variety; Kaala naaj-
black grain, latmar-
difficult to thresh,
"Hybrid rice is
Gobar Times, January 15, 2004 Down To Earth supplement 95