Saturday 9 March 2013

The Raipur Collection

Chhattisgarh is one of the newer states of  India, It was formed on November 1, 2000 by partitioning the southeastern districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Today, Chhattisgarh is the tenth largest State in India in terms of area and sixteenth most populous. It is an important electricity and steel-producing area and it accounts for 15 per cent of the total steel produced in India.
Chhattisgarh borders six states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa. But what many do not know is that the State is the emerging rice bowl of India and it boats of thousands of varieties of rice.  
It is also the State where the Indica variety of rice originated. The rice varieties vary in type, flavour, size of grain, fragrance and even days of maturity which range from 60 to 50 days).
Many rare varieties of rice, which have curative properties, are also grown. What makes this variety invaluable is that many of them are local and the have been developed and nurtured by farmers  over generations.
The first attempt to evaluate and classify the varieties was made in 1971 by Dr. Richcharia, former Director of the Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, Orissa. The aim of his study was to strengthen the local varieties and also develop rice for specific local needs.
The study by Dr. Richchari between 1971 and 1976 accessed over 19,000 varieties of rice and this invaluable repository of  exactly 19,116 varieties came to be known as the Raipur Collection.
Today, the Raipur Collection is stored with the rice germ
plasm bank of the Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyala,
in Raipur and it is commonly acknowledges as the second largest collection of its kind in the world.
The State has moved with times and this is shown by the farmers’ preference for growing high yielding varieties of rice (especially IR-36, IR-64, Mahamaya and Swarna ) along with local varieties such as Dubraaj, Saphri, Javaphul and Vishnubhog.
Other local varieties that are widely grown in the State include Paltu, Hanslo, Luchai, Kankadiya, Murmuriya, Churi, Badshah bhog, Kutki, Dokra megha and Marhaan dhaan.
The Jag Phool has the smallest grain and Dokra dokri  the longest. The Panjara  has two grains in one floret and the Naargoidi can grow in up to ten feet of water). The Gurmutiya has a purple stem.
Several NGOs and farmers organizations apart from the Government are working to preserve the Raipur collection. One such organisation is Dharohar Samiti.
It is a farmer's organisation which has been working in ten villages of Kondagaon tehsil of Bastar district for over 15 years. It aims to promote agro bio-diversity conservation and secure livelihood and nutrition to farmers. The UNDP GEF Small Grants Program (SGP) has supported the Samiti in its mission to conserve over 260 traditional rice varieties along with other minor millets such as raagi, kodo and kutki.
The State’s rice production registered a whopping 50 per cent growth in the kharif season 2010-11 as compared to the output recorded during the corresponding period in 2009-10.
The state had produced 6.15 million tonnes (MT) of rice in kharif season 2010-11. During the corresponding period in the kharif 2009-10, 4.11 MT of rice was produced. The farmers earned a record Rs. 6355 crores by selling paddy to the Government.  

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