‘Kala namak’ rice brings accolades for Yogi govt

With a massive push to the production and branding of Siddhartha Nagars famous Kala Namak rice, the area under the rice cultivation has gone up from 2,805 hectare in 2019 to 5,000 hectare in 2020.

This year the land under Kala Namak cultivation is expected to rise to 10,000 hectares.

Additional Chief Secretary (MSME) Navneet Sehgal said that the rice has been covered under the state government’s one district-one product scheme which has seen farmers reaping massive benefits.

As an example of the work done by the government, Sehgal said that a three-day festival had been organised in Siddhartha Nagar in March 2021, in collaboration with the export promotion department. The aim of the festival was to bring farmers and buyers on the same platform and create awareness about the health benefits of this variety of rice.

“As a result of this festival, farmers and farmer producer organisations (FPOs) started receiving more orders. The government provided FPOs and farmers with the facility to sell their produce through an organised supply chain management system, not just in the domestic market but across India. E-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart are being used to provide a larger market to farmers and FPOs,” he said.

Meanwhile, in what is being termed as a major achievement for the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, the Indian chapter of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has hailed Chandauli and Sonbhadra of UP as ‘aspirational districts’ and has also dubbed them as successful models of local area development for other states.

In its latest report, the UNDP India has lauded the Yogi government’s successful experiment with the cultivation of black rice in Chandauli due to its high demand in global markets and good profit margins.

Chandauli, known as the rice bowl of eastern UP, is currently exporting high-quality black rice to Australia and New Zealand while the Yogi government is contemplating its export to other countries as well.

The Chandauli district administration promoted black rice due to its growing demand in the international market by involving 300 farmers in its cultivation despite the fact that it is not a native product of the area.

Black rice normally costs 200 per kilogram, more than double of what normal rice is priced at.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has been motivating farmers to grow black rice as the soil of Chandauli district is conducive for paddy crops.

Black Rice is also being cultivated in eight development blocks of Mirzapur district, namely Narayanpur, Jamalpur, Chanbe, Rajgarh, Pahari, Lalganj, City and Halia.

It is believed that eating black rice protects against cancer, as it has antioxidant properties. The outermost layer of the rice contains one of the highest levels of anthocyanins. This rice is also beneficial for diabetics.

Furthermore, the UNDP report has put Chandauli and Sonbhadra among the top 5 districts with maximum change in net resilience since 2018.