A Kerala-based organisation named Thanal has embarked on a unique conservation experiment, planting 300 climate-resilient varieties of traditional rice on 1.5 acres of land at its agroecology centre in Panavally in the Wayanad district.

 

About Wayanad Rice Festival

  • The initiative aims to sensitise people to the significance of conserving traditional crops that have the ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions.
  • Thanal has been organising annual “rice field weeks” since 2012.
  • The festival also sets the stage for knowledge sharing and co-creation of knowledge between tribal farmers and experts.
  • Thanal also launched the Rice Diversity Block (RDB) at Panavally under the Save Our Rice campaign in 2009, with a collection of 30 varieties of rice.
  • Most of the varieties were collected from Kerala, Karnataka, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
  • Many varieties are drought-resistant and flood-tolerant, while others have aromatic and medicinal properties.
  • The Thondy variety, a traditional and popular rice among the people in Wayanad a few decades ago, could compete with any hybrid rice in terms of productivity.
  • Black rice varieties are rich in minerals like zinc, iron and other nutrients.
  • India had nearly 1.5 lakh varieties of rice, with about 3,000 varieties unique to Kerala.