RICE SEED BANK: A CONSERVATION INITIATIVE FOR INDIGENOUS RICE VARIETIES IN SILAPATHAR SCIENCE COLLEGE, DHEMAJI, ASSAM


Dr. Jitu Gogoi & Dr Ranjit Saikia


In Assam, a paradise of fertile environment for paddy cultivation, varieties of landrace paddy have been cultivating since time immemorial because the climatic conditions are conducive for rice cultivation and furthermore, it is consumed as a principal food in the region. The state Assam is designated as Secondary Centre of Rice Origin because the Brahmaputra Valley as well as the Barak Valley is rich in paddy diversity. Assam is an agrarian state and agriculture is mainstay of economy of the state where 70 percent of the people do agricultural practice and rice is considered as major crop because the climate, soil, humidity, temperature, rainfall and other related factors are favorable for rice growing. Most of the farmers are still depend on indigenous rice variety for cultivation since indigenous varieties are disease-resistant and acclimatized to the climatic conditions and some of them even have capability of thriving in submerged condition. Traditional methods of rice cultivation are still prevailing in Assam and the practice is being continued generation after generation for their easy and low maintenance cultivation process and for efficacy in abundant production.
Dhemaji district of Assam is popularly known as reservoir of indigenous rice varieties because since time immemorial, varieties of paddy have been cultivating by the populace of the region. Among these plethora of paddy, Sali, Ahu and Boro are the prominent and most of the farmers prefer to cultivate Sali rice in semi-submerged agro field. Apart from the above mentioned rice varieties, Bao is an one  popularly known as Red Rice is grown abundantly in low lying and flood prone areas due to its water resistance attributes. The robust production of red rice in the district could be attributed to blissful monsoon rain, fertile alluvial soil and its capacity to survive in submerged condition for prolonged period. Besides this, Bao rice is rich in iron, protein, zinc, fibre, vitamins and anti-oxidant elements. The nutrient rich rice has attracted the eyes of people around the world and could captured the international market. Lotus Company, the export giant of US has started procuring Bao paddy and many are showing interest. The export of Bao rice has the potential to be a flourishing business. Currently, the traditionally cultivated, organic and pure variety is in demand. For sustainable business the farmers should stick to traditional norms while cultivating. It is foreseen that export of Bao paddy can improve the socio-economic condition of the poor farmers of the region.
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