Farmer Chintala Venkat Reddy from Hyderabad, Telangana was no silent observer when his doctor friends discussed Vitamin D deficiency and how it can affect the human body. As a farmer however, he wasn’t too excited by the idea of loading the body for the required Vit D with medicines.
A recipient of the Padma Shri award in Feb 2020 for his natural innovations in farming, went on to win the patent for Vitamin D enriched rice and wheat variety from World Intellectual Property Organisation, Geneva (WIPO) on February 11, 2021.
Having listened to the doctors, he started to work on a technique that would enrich rice and wheat with Vitamin D naturally. The 70-year-old farmer who resides in Alwal, Secunderabad, says “I succeeded after working on it for two years. Then filed for a national patent in August 2019 and a year later, I applied for International patent on August 1, 2020. My concern was simple: why should we take medicines for something that is coming to us naturally, for free? I had already worked on rice with Vitamin A and C; my crops are fed with natural nutrients through drip irrigation. It is a simple technique and absolutely natural. I tweaked the process and the nutrients to enrich rice and wheat with Vit D.”
Venkat Reddy is jubilant at winning the WIPO patent and hopes farmers worldwide will adopt the method to fight the Vitamin D deficiency. He explains “Vitamin D is such an important mineral and though present abundantly we are having to rely on medicines. Normal or conventional rice and wheat have no presence of Vitamin D. Through my farming method I was able to test the presence of vitamin D ranging from 102 international units (IU) per 100 gram to 141 IU per 100 grams in rice. Same goes with wheat. My experiments on an agricultural plot in Alwal came up with 1606 IU per 100grams and 1832 IU per 100 grams in wheat.
This is not Venkat Reddy’s only success. Last year, his innovative technique of using the sub soil as a pest repellent had helped fellow farmers avert the attack of locusts in their fields.
“I have always been in support of natural ways to cultivate, which eventually takes care of soil health, the environment and us. I look at methods that are not expensive for farmers. As a farmer I have a duty towards the soil and our future generations,” he concludes.