Have you thought beyond these common varieties of rice – Jeera, SonaMasuri, Basmathi, Steamed and Raw etc. Meet Mr. Mahesh Anand from Chidambaram, an ex-techie, converted into a farmer since 2.5 years. His passion to find and revive the traditional paddy varieties! He works with traditional paddy varieties – Kitchili Samba, Konakkuruvai, Katarniyam and AruvadhanKodai.
Tamilnadu was home to 1300 indigenous varieties of paddy and now sadly on 212 varieties of seeds can be found. Unfortunately, these seeds are not popularly grown and are scarcely found. Mahesh has procured and preserved 12 varieties thus far and aims to find at least 365 indigenous paddy seed varieties. He states the example of Orissa, “A Shiva temple in Orissa offers different varieties of rice everyday to the idol – meaning that they already have 365 varieties of rice.”
Mahesh says, “Eating traditional varieties is beneficial in many ways. Rice is not just a source of sustenance. It is also has medicinal value. I have not eaten any medicines for the past 2 years. Riceseeds provide for my medicinal requirements also. This is how our ancestors lived – they understood the medicinal and nutritional value of indigenous varieties.”
“Promoting traditional varieties of rice can also result in lowered cost of rice.The process used by farmers uses almost 20 to 30 kgs of seeds per acre but the natural farming technique that I userequires only 3 to 5 kgs of seed per acre. This ensures huge savings”, says Mahesh Anand.
Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Mahesh wants to encourage new organic farmers to explore farming with indigenous paddy seeds and he sells these seeds to farmers. He aims to create awareness of the benefits of using indigenous paddy seeds in natural farming.