‘Kaipad’ farming in Malabar gets fillip

Tradition beckons: T.V. Rajesh, MLA, inaugurating the harvest in the Kaipad fields of Ezhome in Kannur district on Saturday.  

KANNUR: The formation of an exclusive governmental agency for paddy cultivation in brackish waters, known as ‘Kaipad’ in Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod districts, is in the pipeline. Efforts to sustain and protect organic rice tracts in the region and to enhance production are under way as part of research activities initiated by Kerala Agriculture University’s Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) at Pilicode in Kasaragod.

As part of the development programme launched in 2000 under the aegis of RARS, four saline-tolerant high-yielding organic varieties named ‘Ezhome - 1’, ‘Ezhome - 2’, ‘Ezhome - 3’, and ‘Ezhome - 4’ were released. They are now being cultivated along with traditional varieties such as ‘kuthiru’ and ‘orkayama’. A society of farmers, Malabar Kaipad Farmers’ Society (MKFS), was formed in 2010 to promote the cultivation of the traditional and new varieties. Though MKFS’ area of jurisdiction comprises the three districts, its activities are at present confined to Ezhome, Pattuvam, Cherukunnu and Kannapuram panchayats here. Incidentally, they have a large extent of Kaipad fields. “Following a State-level workshop for coastal rice farmers here in 2014, the idea of a new agency for Kaipad farming was conceived,” said T. Vanaja, professor at RARS and principal investigator and breeder of the kaipad rice variety development project.

RARS had already submitted all documents, including draft bylaw, to the government, Dr. Vanaja said, adding that a final discussion on the formation of the agency will be taken by Minister for Agriculture V.S. Sunilkumar.

The agency is planned as an apex society with the Minister for Agriculture as chairman.

The society is expected to co-ordinate efforts to extend and enhance production in ‘kaipad’ fields with the introduction of the new ‘Ezhome’ variety along with the traditional ones.

“The new varieties released by RARS have outperformed the local varieties in the national trial conducted in various other States as party of the All India Co-ordinated Research Programme,” said P.R. Suresh, professor and Associate Director of Research at RARS. He added that seeds of the traditional Kaipad rice varieties were deposited at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), New Delhi, for preservation under cryogenic storage condition.

A major achievement of the Kaipad development programme is the Geographical Indication tag for Kaipad rice in 2014.

With Kaipad rice securing entry in the GI register, MKFS is the sole intellectual proprietor of the produce. All rice varieties, including ‘Ezhome’, come under the Kaipad rice category.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 8:04:33 PM |

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