Tribal Farmer Grows, Preserves 52 Native Rice Varieties

Raman, a sexagenarian tribal farmer known as a “living paddy gene bank”, is tending to freshly planted saplings in his three-acre land that resembles a green carpet. Two Class 6 students and their teacher from a nearby government school are asking Raman about the paddy varieties in the field in Kerala’s Wayanad district.

They are among the hundreds who come to take lessons in preservation of native paddy varieties and traditional farming methods from Thalakkara Cheriya Raman, aka Cheruvayal Raman or simply Ramettan, at Kammana in Wayanad’s Mananthavady taluk.

Raman grows 52 native varieties of rice in his field every year. “It is a non-profit initiative. I cultivate these only to preserve them and give their seeds to anybody who is interested. I don’t give more than 2-3 kg,” says Raman, who claims to have supplied the seeds of 30 traditional varieties to the Dr K Ramiah Gene Bank at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, named after the breeder and founder-director of the Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack.

For Raman, the ultimate reward isn’t financial, but the fact that “people from huts to palaces are coming to me to learn about my work”. “It wouldn’t have been possible without my work,” he signs off.

Read more of this in a report by Yamini Nair published in The Indian Express... (Link given below)

News Source
The Indian Express

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