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Agriculture department takes steps to boost production of aromatic rice in Bengal

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's attempt to provide aromatic rice like Tulaipanji and Gobindabhog to people at a cheaper rate has got an impetus, as the state Agriculture department has taken up a host of initiatives to increase the production of various types of aromatic rice.
The research wing of the state Agriculture department and two state owned agricultural universities will jointly carry out a research on how to increase the productivity of fragrant rice in the state.
The state Agricultural department is committed to live up to the expectations of the Chief Minister, who has laid an emphasis on the increase in the production of aromatic rice.
The Agricultural department is looking to strengthen Bengal's traditional style of paddy cultivation, particularly how organic traditional rice can be cultivated in the state on a large scale, which would address several health issues.
The grains grown in traditional way always provide health benefits to the people.
One of the main objectives behind the initiative is to ensure that people can afford to buy the costly aromatic rice varieties like Gobindabhog, Tulaipanji and others at a cheaper cost.
Tulaipanji is mostly cultivated in North Bengal districts, while 70 percent of Gobindabhog rice is produced in East Burdwan's Raina.
Research will be done to identify the places in South Bengal where aromatic rice can be cultivated. The research fellows of the state Agriculture department will carry out a survey, examining various aspects of whether the demographic condition of a particular area is conducive for the cultivation of this medium-to-long grained rice.
Steps are also being taken to increase the production of Kalo Nunia in Jalpaiguri. Kalo Nunia, considered as the "prince of rice", is the best tiny aromatic rice in the world. This tiny, non-glutinous rice is extremely easy to cook and requires only 10 minutes. It produces a delicate aroma, taste and texture.
The department is also giving a stress on the production of black rice that has huge medicinal value and are loaded with anti-oxidant elements.
Asish Banerjee, state Agriculture minister, said: "Apart from Tulaipanji and Gobindabhog, the department is also exploring the possibility of cultivating Kalo Nunia and black rice on a large scale. We are taking help of our research wing and the agricultural universities, which will guide us. We have plans to cultivate these varieties of rice throughout the state."
As a part of the programme, the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya and Uttar Banga Krishi Vishwavidyalaya will provide assistance to the department to make the project happen.
According to the Agriculture department, overall paddy cultivation has increased in the state in the past couple of years, due to the introduction of various social schemes for the farmers.
"We are examining whether Gobindabhog, Tulaipanji and other aromatic rices can be produced in the riverine areas of Murshidabad, Nadia, North 24-Parganas and other South Bengal districts on a large scale basis," Banerjee said.
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