Kalanamak, a traditional type of rice with a black husk and a powerful fragrance, is about to get a new look and name. The rice is thought to have been a gift from Lord Buddha to the people of Sravasti (capital of the ancient Kosala) following his enlightenment Addressing the problem of lodging, the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) has successfully developed two dwarf varieties of Kalanamak rice, named Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1638 and Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1652.
About the ‘Kalanamak Rice’ –
- Also known as Buddha Rice, Kalanamak is a scented, one of the finest and short grain rice with an unusual black husk (kala = black; namak means salt).
- It is currently grown in 11 districts of the Terai region of northeastern Uttar Pradesh and in Nepal (specifically Kapilvastu).
- This rare rice has been awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2013 which recognised Siddharthnagar and the adjacent districts for the tag.
- Under the One District One Product (ODOP) Scheme, it has earned the Prime Minister’s award for Excellence in Public Administration 2021.
- It was featured in the book ‘Speciality Rices of the World‘ by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
- This rice is rich in micronutrients such as iron and zinc and can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- It also contains 11% protein which is almost double of common rice varieties.
- Besides, it has a low Glycemic Index (49% to 52%) making it sugar free and suitable for even diabetic people.
- It also contains antioxidants such as anthocyanin which is useful in preventing heart disease and also helps in improving the health of the skin.
- It has also been found helpful in regulating blood pressure and blood-related problems.
About IARI –
- Commonly known as the Pusa Institute, IARI is India’s national institute for agricultural research, education and extension.
- The current institute in Delhi is financed and administered by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- The ICAR is an autonomous body responsible for coordinating agricultural education and research in India.
- It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture and the Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.
- It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
- The IARI was responsible for the research leading to the “Green Revolution in India” of the 1970s.