An indigenous aromatic rice, grown in a small pocket of north Bengal, has gained so much interest among the farmers due to the state government's encouragement that its area of cultivation has increased by 45 per cent in just three years, district officials said.
An indigenous aromatic rice, grown in a small pocket of north Bengal, has gained so much interest among the farmers due to the state government’s encouragement that its area of cultivation has increased by 45 per cent in just three years, district officials said. Tulaipanji is cultivated in Raiganj, Kaliaganj, Hemtabad and Karandighi blocks of Uttar Dinajpur district and Kushmandi block of Dakshin Dinajpur district. Earlier, the farmers were not very keen to cultivate Tulaipanji, but following the encouragement by the state government, more and more peasants are now engaged in farming this variety. “The yield of Tulaipanji was not enough in earlier years. But now the agriculture department helps us in various ways. We also get a better price for this,” said Palanu Mohammad, a farmer of Bindol in Raiganj block.
In Uttar Dinajpur, Tulaipanji was cultivated in 6,700 hectare in 2017-18, compared to 5,400 hectare in 2016-17 and 4,600 hectare in 2015-16, regisetering a growth of 45 per cent in three years, district agriculture official Srikanta Sinha said. The production of Tulaipanji has also been gradually increasing – 10,120 million tonne in 2015-16, 11,880 mt in 2016-17 and 14,740 mt in 2017-18 – in the district, Sinha told PTI. “If Basmati rice can be marketed countrywide in packets, the same can be done for Tulaipanji. It has an excellent aroma. The government has taken the initiative to market this rice in and outside the country,” said Uttar Dinajpur District Magistrate Ayesha Rani.
The DM said the authorities have applied for GI (geographical identification) tag for Tulaipanji. A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory. Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin. The agricultural department of the district has been directed to help farmers grow Tulaipanji, Rani said. Though its grain is not so long as Basmati, but the medium-grained Tulaipanji has the excellent aroma because of the presence of three organic chemicals, another agriculture official Mir Farhad Hossain said.
Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had directed the officials to collect Tulaipanji from Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur districts for packaging and marketing it in all the districts including Kolkata, official sources said. “The production was around 1.8 tonne per hectare a decade ago but it could be increased four times these days using the science of genetics,” said Dr Subhas Chandra Roy, associate professor of the North Bengal University, whose research interest includes rice genetics.