UP government wants to promote ‘Kala Namak’ rice cultivation

Gorakhpur, Sep 13 (IANS) The Yogi Adityanath government is preparing to promote the cultivation of a special variety of rice called ‘Kala Namak’.

Once known as the ‘pride of Purvanchal’ , this rare variety of rice known for its rich aroma and exotic taste, has been shunned by farmers because of its low yield and non-profitability.

Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises’ Principal Secretary Navneet Sehgal recently visited Siddhartha Nagar and interacted with officials and farmers.

He assured farmers that they would be provided good quality seeds for the next sowing season and informed them about the government’s decision to promote cultivation of ‘Kala Namak’ rice.

Sehgal said that this variety of rice contained zinc and iron in ample measure and could be consumed by diabetes patients too.

“If we can create awareness of this rice variety on an international level, the income of farmers can easily be doubled,” he said.

The state government plans to consult the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad on ways to preserve the aroma of the ‘Kala Namak’ rice. Scientists have said that if organic fertilizer is used in rice cultivation, its aroma can be preserved up to three years.

The Principal Secretary said that the government was keen to increase the cultivated area of ‘Kala Namak’ rice and set up special rice mills for this variety. “Talks are on with the private sector for this,” he said.

Incidentally, the Kala Namak rice gets its name from the fact that its husk is black in colour.

Agricultural Scientist Dr S.K. Misra, meanwhile, said that four more varieties of the ‘Kala Namak’ rice were being researched.

The state government has chosen 11 districts of Purvanchal that will apply for a GI tag and then export the rice.

At present, this variety of rice is being sold online at Rs 299 per kilogram and has customers from Chennai and Hyderabad too.

–IANS

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