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I like aroma in rice.There are a number of wonderful rice varieties with distinctive aroma.These aromatic rice gives a heavenly pleasure when cooked and served in the table.Please write your experience of the aromatic rice.You may share how the farmers cultivate and process the rice in your community.You may write the problems and prospects of the aromatic rice varieties too.I will be very happy to share the local names of the aromatic rice in all countries.

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The following report has been collected from AgBioWorld.Please examine the report and send your feedback.
Highly Valued Rice Fragrance Has Origins In Basmati Rice, Study Finds

- Krishna Ramanujan, September 2, 2009

A new Cornell study reports that the gene that gives rice its highly valued fragrance stems from an ancestor of basmati rice and dispels other long-held assumptions about the origins of basmati.

Rice is classified into two major varietal groups: Japonica and Indica , both of which were grown in China some 8,000 years ago and are believed to have originated from there. The new study, published Aug. 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirms that basmati rice, long assumed to be an Indica variety, is actually more closely related genetically to Japonica rice.

Basmati, which is endemic to northern India, Pakistan and Iran, has been falsely assumed to be in the Indica group due to its characteristic long, thin grains and because it is grown in India, where Indica varieties are widespread. Japonica varieties, which include sushi rice, are widely grown in East and Southeast Asia and tend to have shorter, stickier grains.

When the gene, called BADH2, loses its function through the natural process of mutation, rice becomes fragrant. This study reports eight novel mutations in BADH2 associated with fragrance and found that a previously discovered mutation, or allele, is shared by the vast majority of fragrant rice varieties today, including the fragrant Japonica varieties known as basmati and the fragrant Indica variety known as Thai jasmine.

Through genetic analysis of the DNA flanking BADH2, the researchers determined that the major fragrance allele originated in a Japonica-ancestor of basmati rice and was later transferred to Indica varieties, including Thai jasmine rice. People think that all rice [varieties] in India are from the Indica varietal group, but that's not true," said Susan McCouch, professor of plant breeding and genetics and the paper's senior author. Michael Kovach, a doctoral student in McCouch's lab, is the paper's first author.

The new study supports findings from a 2005 paper by McCouch that showed the close genetic relationship of basmati rice to the Japonica varietal group. "India has both Indica and Japonica rice," McCouch added. "Basmati is a unique type of rice but it is genetically more closely related to sushi rice from Japan than to many of the long grained Indica rices grown elsewhere in India. It is intriguing to think about what these relationships tell us about human migration and cultural exchange."

The findings have important implications for claims of ownership of rice varieties and traits, said Kovach. Rice fragrance is one of the most highly valued traits of rice, and it can command higher prices on the global market. Thai scientists recently patented the use of a genetic engineering strategy to knock out the BADH2 gene while claiming the fragrance trait was part of their national heritage -- through Thai jasmine rice -- and "belonged to the Thai people," Kovach said. "They would like to use this approach to impart this characteristic fragrance on other crops like wheat and maize," Kovach added. "There was no proof that the common BADH2 allele causing fragrance in Thai jasmine rice actually did not originate in jasmine varieties, until this study."

"The results suggest something profound and interesting about human culture, and that is, we are all hybrids," said McCouch. "Claims of ownership of rice are important for national identity, but people's concepts of national identity are often over-simplified. Humans continuously exchange ideas, technology and everything that is valuable, and in the exchange, they become something new. The lesson is that while each culture and each rice variety represents something unique, much of what we value most is shared by all."

The study was funded by the Plant Genome Program of the National Science Foundation and the European Union Project METAPHOR.

Dr Abedin, Are you into collecting rice varieties? In that case you must get in touch with Dr Anupam Paul in Phulia ( West Bengal, INDIA) who has been doing so. Dr Pankaj Oudhia of Chhatisgarh, who is a member of this network, is also into it.

Dear Ms.Rina,

Thank you for the nice suggestion.

I am in touch with rice science,cultivation and dissemination.

I will get in touch with the persons as soon as possible.

Hope you are doing well.

You may love to share some of your achievements to inspire us.

Best regards,


Here is an article written by Dr Anupam Paul, who has detailed the work being done by him and his colleagues on folk rice varieties in Phulia, West Bengal, INDIA.




Our rich bio-resources: Our rich bio-resources Owing to the edapho-
climatological factors, rice became the staple food

of Eastern India since millennia. There were more

than 5000 region specific indigenous rice varieties

(folk rice) in West Bengal. A survey report

published in 1930 showed that the erstwhile Bengal

province had 15000 rice varieties. However, majority

of these belonged to Bangladesh. Our forefathers

have developed and selected these varieties from a

single crop species of rice, ie, Oryza sativa aiming

to meet the food security of future generations. But

we have forgotten to acknowledge their

contribution. Each variety is unique with specific

characteristics like disease resistance, flood

tolerance, flood as well as drought tolerance, high

grain yields, aroma etc. Farmer-selected crop

varieties are not only adapted to local soil and

climatic conditions but also fine-tuned to diverse

local ecological conditions and cultural preferences

(Deb 2009). For example, Kalonunia and

Chamarmani are blast resistant rice varieties. Low

lying areas are replete with flood tolerant varieties.

A wide genetic base provides “built-in insurance”

(Harlan 1992) against crop pests, pathogens and

More than 82000 (NBPGR, 2007-08) rice

varieties were selected and cultivated by the farmers

of the Indian subcontinent. Nearly 600 high yielding

varieties (HYV) were developed by crossing indica

and japonica or selections from the cross. Out of

those varieties only four – five HYVs are popular

in each state. High yielding varieties do not give

high grain yield in all locations especially in marginal

lands prone to floods, drought and/or salinity .

Hence, calling these HYVs is inappropriate and

they may be called modern varieties (MVs).

How important are these: How important are these: Since the

devastation caused by AILA, in May 2009, farmers

of Sundarban have been desperately searching for

true salt tolerant indigenous rice varieties . Earlier

they used to grow these in their fields. Along with

the introduction of the MVs coupled with the

erection of high embankments around the saline

rivers, farmers started increasing the area of MVs,

replacing the region specific salt tolerant rice

varieties. This has been the practice for the last 25

years or so. Farmers chose them as the varieties

were considered to be ‘miracle seeds’. However,

with the passage of time, the farmers have realized

the severe drawbacks of these miracle seeds. But,

neither the farmers nor the relevant institutes

January 2014 3

 Dr.Anupam Paul

conserved the diverse salt tolerant rice varieties

because the modern varieties were supposedly

doing well in the farmers’ fields. Salt tolerant varieties

like Matla, Hamilton and Amarican mota have

already vanished from farmers’ fields. Nearly 150

indigenous varieties are extant in farmers’ fields of

West Bengal. The AILA was an eye opener; it

showed that local varieties are best suited if the so

called MVs are wiped out by a natural disaster or

fail in marginal conditions.

modern rice variety can survive in marginal

environmental conditions. Traditional crop varieties

are often recorded to have out-yielded modern

varieties in marginal environmental conditions

(Cleveland et al.2000). Farmers were lured to grow

MVs along with subsidized fertilizers, pesticides and

pump sets. They were made to believe that it was

the only option to increase grain yield in order to

combat the perceived threat of famine. They were

never told about the potentialities of region specific

indigenous high yielding varieties vis-à-vis possible

damage caused by the agro-chemicals and its long

term effects, withdrawal of ground water or the cost

of growing MVs. The MVs gave good yield during

the initial years of Green Revolution. Now grain

yield of MVs have been officially declining despite

heavy application of agro-chemicals. The chemical

intensive agriculture has not only expunged the local

crop genetic diversities but also their wild relatives

that are the only source of unique genes for disease

and pest resistance (Deb 2005)

Comparative Yield Study:

conducted between folk rice and modern varieties

in the same land situation but there are very few

studies on this aspect. Comparison was made only

on the grain yield and not on the total productivity

of the rice fields. Low lying areas with deep water

paddy can also provide fish along with grain and

straw, whereas, the paddy straw and the amount of

fish and snail etc of MVs is not considered as an

important by-product. For example, the mainstream

agriculturists consider the grain yield of folk variety

Asanliya in the undulating drought prone area of

Purulia district (marginal lands) poor in comparison

to grain yield of MV in the plain lands of Burdwan

district, cultivated using chemical fertilizers,

pesticides and irrigation. However, this comparison

is not scientifically tenable.

It has already been established that no

Ideally comparative yield studies should be

The Biodiversity Conservation Farm under

the Agricultural Training Centre, Fulia, West Bengal

has been conducting comparative studies for the

last couple of years. All the folk rice varieties have

been grown through Single Plant Transplanting

(SPT). The Table 1 clearly shows that the folk rice

varieties are no less than HYVs in terms of yields.

Apart from grain yield folk rice gives substantial

amount of palatable straw necessary for fodder and

roof thatching. But these are ignored in mainstream

agriculture, which looks only at grain yield.

Table 1 Comparative grain yield of folk and modern varieties

Sl no Varieties Yield(ton/ha) Remarks

1 Kerala Sundari 4.5-5* With organic input

2 Bahurupi 4.5-5* do

3 Kabirajsal 4 do

4 Asit Kalma 4 do

5 Jhuli 4 do

6 Lakalam 3.5 do

7 Kesabsal 4.5 do

8 Radhatilak( Scented) 2.9 do

9 Dudheswar(Fine small grain) 3 do

10 HYV MTU-7029 4.5 With chemical inputs

11 Hybrid KRH-2** 5.5 With chemical inputs

*The yield is dependent on many factors, some farmers got 6-6.5 ton /ha.

** The yield data was collected from farmers’ fields of Odisha and West Bengal. The yield has not been

consistent, it varies from 2.5 ton – 6 ton /ha and farmers have to purchase the seed each season.

. Table 2 Coverage of rice in West Bengal in 2012

Season Normal Targeted Achieved Remarks

Area Area (Lakh ha)

(Lakh ha) (Lakh ha)

 Aus( Pre-kharif) 2.5 2( approx) Area is declining

Aman ( Kharif) 39.13 42.90 37( approx) More than 90% area

Boro( Summer) 14 14 13.69 Govt is not encouraging Boro

Folk rice 2 South 24 Pgs, Burdwan, West

Medinipur, Howrah, Jalpaiguri,

Coochbihar, Uttar and Dakshin

Dinajpur districts have more


Source: Department of Agriculture, Govt of West Bengal

The data indicates that modern varieties have

already replaced most of the folk rice varieties from

farmers’ fields. Farmers have no choice; they have

to cultivate modern varieties along with purchased

seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. But many of them

have started to raise the question about the efficacy

of modern varieties regarding the consistency of grain

yield and the cost of production.

Radhatilak – promising scented variety Comparison of Panicles


Table 3: Some prominent folk rice varieties so far extant in farmers’ fields

of West Bengal

Varieties Districts Area (in ha) Remarks

Sanu-ad-dhee Hill regions of Darjeeling 100 Scented rice

Kalonunia, Sadanunia Jalpaiguri, Coochbihar 20000 Scented rice

Tulaipanji Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur 5000+1000 Scented rice

Gobindobhog, Badshabhog Burdwan, Birbhum, Bankura, 31000 Popular scented rice, Gobindobhog

and Sitabhog South and N 24 Pgs, Hoogly and and Badshabhog are usually called

other districts as KHAS,Burdwan district has

Asanliya, Bhutmuri, Purulia, Bankura 50 Non-scented, bold rice, Bhutmuri is

Kerala Sundari, Purulia, Burdwan N 24 Pgs, 400 Non-scented, bold rice, good yielder-
Hoogly, 4.5t/ha, Sagar Island of S 24 Pgs has

Bahurupi N 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Non-scented, bold rice, good

 major coverage

a red rice

good coverage

Hoogly, Howrah, Nadia 100 yielder-4.5t/ha, Hingalgunj Block of

N 24 Pgs and Burdwan has good


Kabirajsal, Chamarmani Medinipur, Nadia 30 Good for daily cooking

Dudheswar S 24 Pgs and N 24 Pgs 15000 Small grain fine rice

Moulo, Jamainaru Howrah 35 Daily cooking

Kaminibhog Sundarban area of N 24 Pgs 50 Bold scented, used as parboiled rice

Khejurchari,Marichsal N and S 24 Pgs 150 Daily cooking, Muri( rice bubble),

Radhatilak N 24 Pgs, Hoogly, Nadia,

Panta ( water soaked rice) etc

Bankura, Purba Medinipur Scented, gives more yield than

 and Burdwan 50 Gobindobhog, good adaptability

Source: Compiled from various sources

extent of area under folk rice varieties. The figures

were collected from various sources. Besides the

above mentioned area of 72965 ha under folk rice

varieties, other varieties are still cultivated

There is no specific published data on the

Seed Requirement and Seed Production in

West Bengal: Prior to t West Bengal: he Green Revolution (GR)

farmers used to exchange seeds among themselves

and thereby conserved thousands of region specific

varieties through cultivation. Since the Green

Revolution, seeds became a commodity like any

other marketable product being sold from the agro

input dealers.

 Germination of two seedlings -Jugal

January 2014 5

Farmers never exchanged poor quality seed with

the neighbouring farmers, on the contrary now a

section of seed dealers sell non-seeds or spurious

seeds to its customers – the farmers.

There was no dearth of seed during the pre-
Green Revolution period as farmers knew the

techniques for seed production and preservation.

Moreover, crop seeds were not considered a

marketable commodity. With the onset of

externalization of agricultural inputs in the name of

GR, farmers do not want to take up the burden of

seed production and preservation as seeds are

available in the market.

The requirement of rice seed for Aus, Aman

and Boro in West Bengal is around 98000 tonnes

and the state produces nearly 70000 tonnes per year.

The remaining 28000 tonnes come from other states.

The total cost of seed would be around Rs 245 crore

( 98000 tonnes x Rs 25000/ tonne). If the area under

folk rice is increased by 50% of the total rice area,

there could be a savings of Rs 122.5 crores.

Moreover, one does not need to replace the seed

every three years, like in the case of modern varieties,

for it can be continued over a thousand years

provided seed production and conservation

techniques are properly maintained. It is worth

mentioning that the scented varieties like

Kalanamak and Basmati are more than 2500 years

old and are still in vogue.

Rice Conservation in West Bengal through

the Department of Agriculture, Govt of West

Rice Research Station, Rice Research Station Chuchura (Chinsurah) Chuchura (Chinsurah

of West Bengal West Bengal began rice conservation since

the 1930s. During the 1960s it had more than 3500

folk rice varieties and these were also donated to

the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI),

Philippines. However, the centre had selected many

improved rice varieties out of the folk rice. At

present it has more than 800 folk rice varieties. It

also distributes folk rice varieties among the farmers.

The station published a book on sixty folk rice

varieties in 1962 (Recommended varieties of paddy

for West Bengal, Directorate of Agriculture, Govt

Table 4 Folk Rice Seed Distribution from ATC Fulia during the last three years

Year of Production Year of Distribution No of varieties distributed No of recipients farmers

2009 2010 50 56

2010 2011 Year of severe Only panicles were

2011 2012 74 121

2012 2013 126 80

of West Bengal). In 2008, 46 years since its

inception, the centre also published a book on 467

folk rice varieties giving some major characters of

the varieties (The Rice Biodiversity in West Bengal,

Directorate of Agriculture, Govt of West Bengal).

However, there might be some repetition for a

particular variety may be known by different names

in different places. Scientific methods like DNA

finger printing and other morphological studies can

sort out the problem of duplication. In West Bengal

DNA finger printing has been done for nearly 150


Agriculture Training Centre, Agriculture Training Centre, Fulia:a: Inspired

by the works of Vrihi of Bankura, the author of the

article has started conservation of folk rice since 2001

at the demonstration farm at the Agriculture

Training Centre, Fulia and now the centre has about

300 folk rice varieties. After constant persuasion,

the centre was declared as a Biodiversity

Conservation Farm by the Directorate of Agriculture

in 2006. Initially, the centre had collected 22

varieties from Vrihi. It also collected folk rice

varieties from farmers, the Development Research

Communication and Services Centre (DRCSC )

,Kolkata, Swanirvar of Baduria, N 24 Pgs., different

farmers across the state, Sambhab of Odisha, Thanal

of Kerala, Sahaja Samrudha of Bangalore, and

others in Nagaland, Assam and Maharastra. Till date

more than 350 farmers have received folk rice

varieties directly from the centre and the seeds reach

more than 500 farmers indirectly. Different

universities are taking the folk varieties for various

studies like morphological studies, DNA finger

printing, estimation of vitamin B complex, protein

and minerals. Agricultural universities like Bidhan

Chandra Krishi Viswavidyala, Viswa Bharati of

Santiniketan have collected more than 30 and 155

varieties respectively from the centre. Different state

government farms have collected folk seed from the


The centre has set a record in the history of

Indian agriculture since  no government farm has ever

distributed so many folk seeds in a year. The centre

also revaluates the varietal characters of the seeds


drought collected


I salute Dr Anupam Paul for the wonderful initiative.I hope the Government of West Bengal,IRRI and FAO will support the initiatve.

Thank you Rina for sharing the precious information.




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