Agriculture Minister B.C. Patil to release it to the market tomorrow
A cooperative society in Karkala in Udupi district has taken the lead to conserve a local variety of rice by promoting its paddy cultivation among local farmers and launch its marketing from Monday.
The Parampara Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd. will market the boiled rice under its own brand name ‘Kaarla Kaje’.
The president of the cooperative society Naveenchandra Jain told The Hindu that the rice is being promoted under ‘vocal4local’ initiative. He said that the particular ‘kaje’ variety of rice was once being cultivated in Karkala and its neighbourhood on a vast scale. As its cultivation came down gradually the cooperative society, which is full of farmers, thought of conserving it from fading from the fields. As some farmers who had its seeds were cultivating its paddy on a small scale the cooperative society gave its seeds to about 100 farmers to promote its cultivation.
“As a first crop under the cooperative society’s initiative between 250 and 300 farmers cultivated it on about 200 hectares (900 acres) last year. We got about 3,000 quintals of rice from about 5,000 quintals of paddy cultivated. The same rice is ready for sale now,” he said, adding that preparations have been made to cultivate its second crop whose harvesting is expected in late February or in March.
Mr. Jain said that the ‘Kaarla Kaje’ will be sold in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts in 5, 10 and 25 kg bags.
The president, who himself cultivates it on about 35 acres to 40 acres, said that the particular variety yielded 15 quintals of paddy per an acre of land. Its rice can be stored up to three to five months. He said that if the paddy after drying is stored up to three months and then made as rice it tasted better.
As the society now had only 3,000 quintals of rice with it, it can not be marketed outside the twin districts, which consumed boiled rice, even if demand grew, Mr. Jain, who is also the vice-president of Udupi District Krishika Samaja and president of Udupi District Bharatiya Kisan Sangha, said.
The rice will be promoted as the brand of Karkala. Minister for Agriculture B.C. Patil will release the rice to market at Kukkanduru Gram Panchayat in Karkala on January 18, he said.