In reference to the article by Dr. Ashish Kothari (Dec, 9, 2012),Ajay Parida of M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation clarifies:
Kalajeera is a widely grown variety in Eastern India and Bangladesh. Within India, these varieties are grown in several parts of the country, especially in Odisha, and there are known to be several such land races in existence, going by the generic name of Kala Jira. About 15 years ago, MSSRF started a Participatory Breeding Programme in association with the tribal families of Koraput, Odisha, to improve Kalajeera. After ten years of this participatory breeding programme, varietal selection and enhancement trials, the particular variety now known as Kalinga Kalajera was developed, and later so named by the participating farmers, both women and men. This variety is a specialty rice used mainly for preparation of the sweet dish "payash" which is an important element in many ritual and ceremonial occasions in Odisha, and hence widely in demand in both urban and rural areas. The high market value of this variety also enables the farmers growing it to command a high price for it. There is a good demand from the armers for this selection. Following this, MSSRF has facilitated the formation of a Kalinga Kalajeera Growers Association, a community based registered organisation, which is furthering the conservation, cultivation and marketing of traditional rice varieties, including Kalajeera. The association has already filed an application for its registration as a Farmers' variety under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act. This process was facilitated by MSSRF. In addition, the community has been nationally and internationally recognised through the Equator Imitative Award and Genome Savoir Award. The Koraput Agriculture System has been identified as the First Globally Important Agriculture Heritage System of the FAO in India. In conclusion, MSSRF works in partnership with the local communities solely to empower and facilitate the community conservers in getting due recognition and rewards for their own efforts and thereby adequately credited for their seminal contribution to conservation and enhancement of genetic resources. MSSRF plays the role of a catalyst in this endeavour and has neither claimed nor intends to claim any credit for the efforts of the communities.