A three-day ‘Red Rice Mela’ is being held here from Saturday, as part of an initiative to sensitise the public on the use of ‘red rice’ (Kempakki in Kannada).

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, president of the Desi Krishikara Balaga and water harvesting expert Chennabasappa Kombali and vice-president Shrenikraj Yalavatti said that the three-day ‘Kempakki Sante’ would be held at Laxmi Sadan at J.C. Nagar here.

To get better yields, farmers use pesticides and chemical fertilizers in excess. “However, there are many farmers who have worked hard to preserve the native varieties of rice and grow them through organic farming. There are several varieties of red rice, which are native species and grown through organic farming,” he said. Mr. Kombali said that researchers were of the opinion that red rice was good for health since it improves eyesight and acts as a diuretic.

The ‘Kempakki Mela’ is an attempt to sensitise the public about native rice varieties like red rice.

“There are as many as 250 varieties of red rice. All of them will be on display during the mela, and 25 varieties will be available for sale,” he said. The government should supply red rice through the public distribution system in a phased manner, he added.

Mr. Yalavatti said that as many as 60 paddy conservators, Stree Shakti self-help groups and farmers from 12 paddy-growing districts of Karnataka would participate. In addition to the red rice exhibition, various eatables made from red rice would also be sold.

The mela will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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