Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor has urged farmers to go for more organic cultivation as there is great demand for organic products worldwide owing to health awareness.

Inaugurating a national workshop on ‘Revival of Kerala’s traditional rice varieties with special reference to Navara and Palakkadan Matta’ organised by the Navara Rice Farmers Society here on Thursday, he said organic cultivators should join hands to explore market inside and outside the country in order to make organic farming sustainable and income-generating.

Mr. Tharoor said the Navara variety of paddy and Palakkadan Matta getting Geographic Indication (GI) registration was of great importance for their mass cultivation and marketing. The medicinal rice of Navara is famed for its use in the ancient Indian system of medicine – Ayurveda. As it originated in a limited area and remains confined to some parts of Kerala like Palakkad, it is considered an endemic crop.

Its various forms such as the grain, bran, powder, and root are used in the treatment of different ailments in Ayurveda, he said.

The programmed was presided over by Dr. P. Chandrasekharan, former Dean of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University.

K.R. Viswambharan, Vice-Chancellor, Kerala Agricultural University; M.G. Radhakrishnan, mediaperson; and P. Narayanan Unny, president, Navara Rice Farmers Society, were among those who spoke on the occasion.