In the fields of Kombankuzhy, Kerala is found the ‘forbidden rice’, which is making a come back.
- The new attraction at the Kombankuzhy Padasekharam paddy fields of Kerala is a rice plant with violet panicles.
- The panicles are of Black Jasmine rice variety cultivated by Nayanan C.C.
- Nayanan C.C grows a variety of rice which are known for their medicinal properties on one acre of leased land.
- Different varieties of seeds are sown two months ago and are expected to harvest in February.
- Black rice has numerous health benefits and is grown in Manipur, West Bengal, and some north-east states.
- The seeds of black jasmine rice were brought from a farmer in Wayanad.
- The other varieties which are cultivated are Rakthashali and Krishna Kamod varieties in half an acre at the Kombankuzhy Padasekharam and spread over 110 acres.
- The Rakthashali rice variety withstood three weeks of flooding in August 2020.
- Black rice is called forbidden rice.
- It is rich in nutrients and is deep dark in colour.
- When cooked, it turns into deep purple color due to high levels of an antioxidant called anthocyanin.
- The black rice contains fiber and anti-inflammatory properties.
India was home to many varieties of rice, with many being highly nutritious and the capacity to withstand vagaries of weather. But, the polished rice revolution took over and most of the nutritious rice varieties were dropped from cultivation. Now, thanks to the efforts of passionate farmers like Narayanan C.C. the long-lost rice varieties are making a comeback.
At a time when people are changing their lifestyles towards a healthier one, rice varieties such as the ‘Forbidden Rice’ are of commercial value. Also, it helps conserve these rice varieties for the future.