Bengal Govt encouraging aromatic rice cultivation

The Trinamool Congress Government has, over the last few years, done a lot for increasing the cultivation of aromatic rice varieties, which have a high demand inside the State and in other parts of the country, as well as outside the country. Exports have seen a steady rise.

Another effort taken by the Government is the decision to distributed seeds of aromatic rice for free. They are being distributed by North Bengal Krishi Viswavidyalaya.

As of now three varieties have distributed – tulaipanji, kataribhog and kalonunia.

Seeds of tulaipanji are being distributed in Hemtabad, Raiganj, Kaliaganj and Itahar in Uttar Dinajpur district, in Balurghat and Kushmandi in Dakshin Dinajpur, and in Malda district. Kataribhog is being distributed in the district of Malda and in Kumarganj, Tapan, Hili and Balurghat in Dakshin Dinajpur, while kalonunia is being distributed in Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts.

Source: Millennium Post

State Govt to tie up with State univs for large-scale aromatic rice production

The State Agriculture Department has decided to tie up with two State universities to develop methods for increasing the productivity of the varieties of aromatic rice indigenous to Bengal.

Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya and Uttar Banga Krishi Vishwavidyalaya will provide assistance to the department.

After getting geographical indication (GI) tags for gobindobhog and tulaipanji rice, which, to a large extent, was the result of the active encouragement of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Government has been exploring a variety of ways for commercial exploitation of the varieties. Other indigenous varieties like kalonunia are also being considered.

Tulaipanji and kalonunia are mostly cultivated in the northern districts of the State while 70 per cent of gobindobhog is produced in Raina in Purba Bardhaman.

Research will be conducted on whether the varieties of rice can be grown in newer regions, to increase total productivity and to benefit local economies. These varieties are already being exported in moderate amounts. Large-scale production would also increase exports manifold. Cheaper methods of cultivation would also be researched.

Source: Millennium Post

Bengal plans GI tag for Kalonunia and Randhunipagal rice

The State Government is planning to apply for a geographical (GI) tag, which is a marker for the geographical uniqueness of a product, for the Kalonunia and Randhunipagal varieties of rice, two of the indigenous varieties of aromatic fine rice from Bengal, according to the State Agriculture Minister. While Kalonunia is grown in the northern region of the state, Randhunipagal is grown in the western region.

Kalonunia is cultivated in the districts of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Darjeeling (plains regions of the district). Randhunipagal is cultivated in the districts of Birbhum, Pruba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Bankura and Hooghly.

Gobindobhog and Tulapanji have already received the GI status, and the term ‘Bengal Aromatic Rice’ has been included in official documentation registered with the patent office. Kalonunia and Randhunipagal would fall under the same label.

Gobindobhog and Tulapanji are primarily grown in the Damodar River basin and in the districts of north Bengal, respectively.

Getting a GI tag helps a product to be marketed as exclusively from the geographical region it hails from, be it a food product, a beverage, a fruit, a handicraft, a handloom product or any other regionally exclusive entity. The Bengal Government has been actively patenting various products in order to market them internationally too.

The demand would naturally also help in saving these indigenous varieties of rice, which are nutritionally rich, but many of which are facing extinction as a result of the cultivation of only the commercially viable varieties. In fact, the State Government is carrying on research work with 41 such varieties.

Kalonunia, a medium-sized blackish grain, is produced at the rate of 2.2 to 2.4 tonnes per hectare of cultivated paddy, while the small-sized Randhunipagal is produced at the rate of 2.3 to 2.5 tonnes per hectare of cultivated paddy. These are eaten as plain rice or as an alternative to Basmati (in the case of Kalonunia) and as the principal component of payesh, pithe and khichuri bhog for pujas.

According to officials of the State Science and Technology Department, preparation of the documentation to be presented by the state to the patenting authority is almost complete.


কালোনুনিয়া ও রাঁধুনিপাগল চালের জন্য জিআই তকমা চাইবে বাংলা

শুরু হয়েছিল গোবিন্দভোগকে দিয়েই। জিওগ্রাফিক্যাল ইন্ডিকেশন বা জিআই-তকমাকে হাতিয়ার করে বাংলার বিভিন্ন সুগন্ধী চালকে সংরক্ষণ করতে এ বার উদ্যোগী হচ্ছে রাজ্য।

এবছর অক্টোবর মাসেই গোবিন্দভোগ ও তুলাইপাঞ্জি চালের জিআই তকমা পেয়েছে রাজ্য। চাল দু’টির এই স্বীকৃতির চিহ্ন বা লোগোতে ‘বেঙ্গল অ্যারোমেটিক রাইস’ বা বাংলার সুগন্ধী চাল পরিচয়টুকুও এখন নথিভুক্ত। আরও কয়েকটি সুগন্ধী চালকে চিহ্নিত করার কাজও জোরকদমে চলছে বলে জানিয়েছেন কৃষিমন্ত্রী।

এ রাজ্যের বিভিন্ন উৎকর্ষ জিআই-নথিভুক্ত করার প্রক্রিয়ায় জড়িত বিজ্ঞান-প্রযুক্তি বিভাগের অধিকর্তাদের দাবি, রাঁধুনিপাগল ও কালো নুনিয়ার মতো আরও দু’টি সুগন্ধী চালের সবিস্তার নথি এখন কার্যত তৈরি। এর ভিত্তিতে দ্রুত জিআই-এর আবেদন করা হবে।

জিআই-তকমার মানে এই চালগুলি শুধু বাংলাতেই উৎপাদিত হয়। রাঁধুনিপাগল, কালোনুনিয়ার মতো ঐতিহ্যশালী চালকে জিআই-এর মাধ্যমে পরিচয় করিয়ে বিশ্ববাজারে মেলে ধরার কথা বলছেন কৃষিমন্ত্রী। উচ্চ ফলনশীল ধানের চাপে কোণঠাসা বহু সাবেক ধানের চালের সঙ্গেই জড়িয়ে সাংস্কৃতিক গরিমাও। মন্ত্রীর দাবি, ৪১টি ধানের বীজ নিয়ে তার বিস্তারের চেষ্টা চলছে রাজ্যে।


Source: The Statesman, Anandabazar Patrika

The image is representative (source)