State plans to promote iron-rich variety of Purulia's 'Kalamkaati' rice, says min

State plans to promote iron-rich variety of Purulias Kalamkaati rice, says min

kolkata: The state Agriculture department is planning to promote the Kalamkaati variety of rice, which is mainly cultivated in the tribal belt of Purulia district of Bengal. Locally known as 'Lal Chal,' the rice variety apart from being rich in iron has anti-cancer properties and helps pregnant women to fight blood deficiency.

"This variety of rice is cultivated and consumed locally. But we believe, that if we can do marketing of this specific variety which is so beneficial for human health, then farmers will be encouraged to augment its cultivation. We will take measures in this regard," state Agriculture minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said.

According to agriculture experts, the rice variety can grow well on alluvial soil of the state. The rice has a reddish skin from where it gets its name 'Lal Chal.'

The minister said as per instructions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, his department is taking measures to make the salt-tolerant rice 'Nona Swarna' popular. It is being sold at the Sufal Bangla and Biswa Bangla outlets of the state government and also in all the fairs that are being held across the state.

After cyclone Yaas had hit the state in June last year, large stretches of land close to the sea in three districts North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas and East Midnapore had become inundated and saline water that entered into agricultural land posed a barrier to paddy cultivation.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked the state Agriculture department to come up with alternative rice variety that can withstand salinity.

Experts associated with the Agriculture department were engaged in extensive research and cultivation of six salt-tolerant paddy variety. Among them, the cultivation of two varieties Nona Swarna and Dudheswar were very successful. The Dudheshwar variety is already popular particularly in South 24-Parganas.

According to sources, the state government had hand-held over four lakh farmers in the three coastal districts to cultivate new varieties of salt-tolerant paddy to curb the repeated damage of standing crops by saline water. In June, a total of 1,290 metric tonnes of 'Nona Swarna' paddy seeds were distributed among farmers in North 24-Parganas, South 24 Parganas, and East Midnapore under the 'Krishak Bandhu' scheme.

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