Exhibition-cum-sale of diverse organic rice varieties in Thiruvananthapuram

Rajamudi rice, a favourite of the royal family of Mysore, Bangaraguda from Karnataka, a rice variety which is usually given to a child for the first time, Burma Black, grown in Wayanad and Mysore, a variety that is excellent when used in payasams, Thondi variety (nearly seven of them), again from Wayanad, with medicinal properties… Organic Rice Mela at YMCA Hall, Statue, is the place to be to learn as much as you can about traditional rice varieties from various parts of the country.

The event organised by Thanal and Save Our Rice campaign features exhibition and sale of rice varieties and organic products including vegetables. Among the exhibits are 69 varieties of rice from Kerala, over 50 from Tamil Nadu, and 26 from West Bengal.

“There is a rich treasure of traditional rice varieties out there which are not only safe to eat, but are also nutritious and healthy,” says C. Jayakumar, director of Thanal.

An example is the Mullankazhama rice which is indigenous to Wayanad. “It grows well in the hilly terrain. What sets it apart from other rice varieties is its aroma. It is easy to digest. We recently learnt that many IT professionals prefer this variety of rice as it is known to prevent piles,” he says. But since it can be produced only in small quantities, it is expensive (Rs.120 per kg at the mela).

A special variety is the anti-diabetic rice, which has come from Nagercoil.

“Gowtham, a farmer from the area, has processed it in his mill. The problem is that it is not a firm rice. It breaks when it is cooked,” says Babychan T.J., programme coordinator of Thanal. It costs Rs. 60 per kilo. Gowtham also has organic raw brown sugar (Rs. 75 for half kilo), under the brand name ‘First’, for sale.

Besides organic wheat flour and rice flour, the mela has products of EcoFarms from Vidarbha such as soya flour, bajra and jowar, mix atta, hibiscus syrup (Rs. 345), mango chutney and gooseberry jam among others.

Organic vegetables, honey, grocery items and soaps too are available at the mela which ends on Friday. Time: 10 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. Contact: 9447343520.