Black rice keeps a whole lot of diseases at bay


GUWAHATI, Dec 25: Black rice does not make content for any black books. Consumption of black rice, which was also called as ‘Emperor Rice’ in ancient Chi, can keep a whole lot of diseases—alzheimer, cancer, diabetes and other heart diseases – at bay.
Famous in Manipur, black rice is making inroads into Assam as well. It was brought to Assam in 2011 by a farmer, Upendra Rabha, from Goalpara. He started cultivating black rice with a missiory zeal, taking a number of other farmers.
Rabha, a farmer from Amguripara at Krishi in Goalpara district, started the business of black rice farming in Assam. He got the seed for the first time from a scientist of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Goalpara, Uttam Kumar Baruah.  
Sharing his experience with The Sentinel, Rabha said: “It wasn’t an easy task for me at the beginning. The process of farming black rice is completely different. I never thought of such a success. As I first got the seeds of 1kg I made them wet in water, but only one of the seeds germited after two days. I still kept waiting for a month for the rest of the seeds to germite, but my patience went in vein. Later I came to know that black rice producers use to fry seeds so as not to let others to cultivate it. I was left with no option but to start working with just one seed that got germited.”
However, as per researches done by the scientist, consumption of black rice is very helpful for diabetics, cancer, heart ailments, Alzheimer, liver, skin and hair diseases.  Rabha added:  “The sprout produced 15 panicles from which I harvested 150 grams seeds in 2011. Later in 2012, I harvested 48 kg of paddy from the 150 gram seeds and in 2013; I produced 1,600 kg from an eight-hectare area.”
Later in 2014, Rabha convinced 30 farmers of his village to produce the rice variety. Then they produced over 1,200 quintals of black rice from 160 kg seeds in 13.2 hectare of land. Again later Rabha felt necessary for more cultivation, he began to motive more farmers of his village to take it up. Two hundred of them agreed and started working in 500 bighas of land under a Central Government scheme, Agriculture Technology Magement Agency 2014-15.
Rabha’s successful story started when he started getting lots of orders from New Delhi-based company representatives. The company visited Rabha’s house and purchased 100 quintals of black rice for supply to Europe. 
Besides that Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma also takes black rice from him for Sonia Gandhi. It can also mention that black rice is indigenous to West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Manipur till now. Manipur is the highest producer of black rice in the Northeast. Black rice is deep black in colour and it turns deep purple when cooked. Black rice can be used as sweet dish, rice beer and many more. 

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