Traditional rice varieties vanishing in Kerala: Study Traditional rice varieties of Kerala appeared to be vanishing as a study has found as many 55 species of paddy seeds extinct in Wayanad district in northern part of the state due to various reasons.
Nearly 160 varieties of paddy varieties, including 78 traditional ones, were being cultivated in Waynad and the study found 55 of them have become extinct. The study was conducted by Kerala State Biodiversity Board as part of preparing the People’s Biodiversity Registry (PBR) under the Centre’s Biodiversity Act-2002.
An analysis of data compiled under the study showed varieties such as ‘Anchoodan’, ‘Chara’, ‘Cheera’ ‘Nellu’, ‘Chuvannaraan’, ‘Jeerakachanna’ and ‘Kochandan’ have vanished, Biodiversity Board Member-Secretary K P Laladhas told PTI.
Low yield and promotion of high breed variety seeds and high-cost in continuing the cultivation with traditional seeds were some of the reasons for this phenomenon, he said. Farmers were reluctant to cultivate low yielding varieties.
However, the mandate of the Board was to conserve and promote all types of biodiversity whether positive or negative, he said. He said some farmers still would have stocks of small quantity of traditional seed varieties and the board would approach them and encourage them to cultivate those varieties.
The government should also give some incentives to farmers who take up the cultivation of traditional varieties of paddy, he said. The Board would submit a project report to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest with recommendations for the promotion and conservation of rare rice varieties.
Other phenomenon noticed was that in Malappuram District, 25 to 50 varieites were cultivated only in a single panchayat. ‘That means, there is every chance of these varieties also becoming extinct in near future, if necessary steps are not taken to conserve it’, he said.
The agriculture department should give same importance to promote traditional varieties of paddy cultivation while giving a push to high-yielding varieties, he said. So far, the Board has completed the preparation of PBR in 500 local bodies in the state, which has a total of 977 panchayats, 60 municipalities and five corporations.