The Loss of Indigenous Rice Varieties


Fifty years ago in India, you could eat a different variety of rice for every meal, every day of your life, and still not have tried them all before you died (of natural causes, not because of your ridiculously high carb diet).

Not only was that variety fantastic at meal times, it was a boon for farmers. Their indigenous rice varieties were better suited to their biodiverse environments, they tasted better, they were more naturally resistant to pests, and they even smelled heavenly!

Unfortunately, the government introduced hybrid rice varieties that might have offered a “higher yield”, but were otherwise terrible. They ended up wiping out a majority of the existing indigenous strains - bringing their number from 100,000 strains to a mere handful, in a matter of decades.

Farmers soon realised that their age-old, local varieties were far superior in almost every conceivable way. Farmers and ecologists have since banded together across the country, running campaigns like 'Save Our Rice’. Fighting against the hybrid trend, they’re successfully reviving the “desi” varieties, and literally reaping the many benefits, which include higher profits, and crops that can even survive cyclones and droughts.

We don’t know about you, but we could sure go for some good old fashioned ‘dal chawal’ right about now.