Monday, March 22, 2021

IRRI’s and Kalanamak Mahotsav 2021, Siddharthnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India. 13th to 15th March 2021



Kapilvastu and Kalanamak Mahotsav:

The Government of Uttar Pradesh organized a three days (13-15 March 2021) festival named Kalanamak Mahotsav’ within the broader Kapilvastu Mahotsav in the Siddharthnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. The Kalanamk Mahotsav aimed to popularize, promote, market, and brand the Kalanamak rice. It is also referred to as the “Black Pearl” of eastern Uttar Pradesh and is known for its relationship with Lord Buddha, Buddhism, and its superb nutritional and aroma quality. The milled rice is whitish in

color and comes under the medium, slender grain type category, whereas the cooked rice is soft, easily digestible, and possesses a uniquely harmonious blend of taste, aroma, and delicious organoleptic properties, better elongation, and has a longer shelf life. It is a more than 26000-year-old traditional rice variety. Lord Buddha gave the seed of red husked Kalanamak to his followers with a blessing that ‘it will give fragrance to their lives and always remind people of me’. Hence it is also known as ‘Buddha ka Mahaprasad’ (Offering of Lord Buddha). The Government of Uttar Pradesh wishes to promote, export, and tap the potential of Kalanamak rice variety in the Buddhist countries. The Govt. level action plan for the improvement in production with better aroma retention has already been made and Kalanamak rice variety has been chosen as a product of the “One District One Product (ODOP)” scheme under 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' campaign for the district of Siddharthnagar. It also has a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Siddharthnagar district and 10 more districts around Siddharthnagar with similar agro-climatic conditions. These districts are Gorakhpur, Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Santakbirnagar, Basti, Bahraich, Balrampur, Gonda and Shravasti.

The three-day festival was one of its kind and brought a range of Kalanamak stakeholders, including policymakers, researchers, traders, exporters, government agencies, and farmers, on a single platform.

IRRI and Kalanamak Mahotsav:

At the Government of Uttar Pradesh's request, IRRI has agreed to participate in this festival, more as a  research and knowledge partner to support the interventions to popularize the Kalanamak rice under ODOP scheme. The Uttar Pradesh govt has recently come out with an advertisement in major newspapers informing about their plan to work with IRRI to improve and promote Kalanamk rice.

Media Clipping on Kalanamak Mahotsav and partnership with IRRI under ODOP

Inaugural Function of Kalanamak Mahotsav

In the inaugural ceremony of Kalanamak Mahotsav, Shir. Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, emphasized the need to promote the scientific and sustainable production of Kalanamak rice in the geographical Indication (GI) area and provide a market for it to increase the income of the farmers. He also briefly discussed the challenges faced by the farmers in growing and marketing of Kalanamak rice and the actions taken by the Government of Uttar Pradesh to solve these challenges. He further stated the process of setting up a research facility and common facility center will help the farmer and other stakeholders to address some of these historic challenges. The Chief Minister mentioned the support expected from IRRI for Black rice and Kalanamak rice while referring to IRRI's strong support in helping Chndoli district administration for Black rice cultivation.

Inauguration of Kalanamak Mahotsav by Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath

During the inaugural function, District Magistrate of Siddharthnagar, Shri Deepak Meena, IAS has mentioned the possible collaboration with IRRI for research around Kalanamak rice and establishing a robust seed system, along with capacity development support in the district.

IRRI Participation in the Mahotsav and Recognitions:

IRRI has joined this event as a knowledge partner and established an exhibition stall in Kalanamak Mahotsav to display the ongoing research product developed by CERVA using the Kalanamak rice and to provide relevant technical information to farmers. Gluten-free cookies made from Kalanamak and Chandauli black rice flour offered to the distinguished guests participated in the festival.


IRRI’s stall in Kalanamak Mahotsav

During the event, the Minister of Agriculture (State), Government of India, Mr. Kailash Choudhary and Member of Parliament, Domariyaganj, Mr. Jagdambika Pal tested gluten-free cookies made from Kalanamak and back rice and appreciated the efforts by IRRI in value addition and product development from rice. 

Offering of Kalanamak Cookies to Minister of Agriculture, Member of Parliament and District Magistrate Siddharthnagar

During the event, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Kailash Choudhary, M.P. Sri Jagdambika Pal and District Administration of Siddharthnagar had felicitated the Director - ISARC, Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, for IRRI excellent work for rice sectors and especially supporting Kalanamak rice research related works and developing a robust value chain.


Felicitation of Dr. Sudhanshu Singh by Shri Kailash Chaudhary, Honourable Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Govt. of India.

Kapilvastu Mahotsav and Kalanamak Mahotsav provided a platform to IRRI to establish its linkages with the local agriculture department, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, agriculture university, entrepreneurship, FPOs, and progressive farmers. Recently IRRI got sanctioned two projects, one from MSME (ODOP) to find out the best Kalanamak accession with better aroma, development of the seed system and packages and practices, and enhance the technical know-how of the stakeholder, and another one from Uttar Pradesh Council of Agricultural Research (UPCAR) to intensify the rice-based cropping system in the Siddharthnagar district. Kalanamak Mahotsav will surely provide opportunities for a better understanding of the Kalanamak growing niches, identification of the farmers’ problem, and appropriate solutions.

IRRI Technical Sessions

On the last day of the event, March 15, a three-hour technical session was also hosted by IRRI to share the research around grain quality, organic farming, zero budget natural farming, breeding, nutrient management, and scale-appropriate mechanization for the betterment of the premium quality rice varieties. Dr. Sudhanshu Singh gave a brief overview of the IRRI and ISARC, Varanasi, and how ISARC Varanasi can help in doubling the farmers’ income. Mr. Gopesh Tiwari, Head – IRRI Education, provided a glimpse of how ISARC will work in the close association with Acharya Narendra Deva University and the local Agriculture department betterment of the Kalanamak rice variety upliftment of livelihood of farmers involved in its cultivation through the proposed project under ODOP. Other speakers from IRRI include Dr. B.P. Singh, Dr. Vivek Kumar Singh, Dr. Ajay Kumar Mishra, Dr. Ashutosh Rai, Dr. Ashish Kumar Srivastava and Dr. Ajay Kumar Pundir gave a brief presentation on various aspects of rice research, including role of farmers producer organization (FPO) to tackle the burning issues of agriculture, finds of CERVA lab at ISARC on the nutritional quality of rice, significance of evidence-based evaluation of natural farming systems, breeding work in the Kalanamak rice improvements, role of different nutrients on the improvement of the grain quality traits and mechanization and post-harvest technological works.

The technical session by IRRI was well appreciated by all participants including district administration. At the last of the technical session, IRRI scientists also participated in the interaction session with farmers, FPOs, and scientists working in the same stream, the session went well and farmers were satisfied with the solution of their queries.


Glimpse of IRRI’s technical session and progressive farmers felicitation by IRRI

ANNEXURE -  Detailed Proceeding of Kalanamak Mahotsav

The Uttar Pradesh government organized a three days (13-15 March 2021) program ‘Kalanamak Mahotsav’ in the Siddharthnagar District. This program was based on the grand success of the recently organized ‘Strawberry Mahaotsav’ in Jhansi ‘Gud Mahotsav’ in Lucknow. These events were organized to promote, market, and branding of the selected products of the One District One Product under 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' and 'Local for Vocal' campaign. If the demand increases, the income of the farmers will also increase. Kalanamak Rice, grown in the area is One District One Product (ODOP) of Siddharthnagar district. It has been recognized with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Siddhartnagar district and 10 more districts with the similar agro-climatic condition- Gorakhpur, Deoria Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Santakbirnagar, Basti, Bahraich, Balrampur, Gonda and Shravasti.

Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, virtually inaugurated the event. In his opening remark, he emphasized the need to promote the production of Kalanamak rice in the geographical Indication (GI) area and provide a market for it to create new income opportunities for farmers. He briefed the history of “Black Pearl” of eastern Uttar Pradesh and its relationship with Lord Buddha, Buddhism, and its aroma quality. He also discussed the problems of farmers who are still growing this rice variety and hope that Mahotsav will become a milestone in popularizing, branding, and marketing for this variety that ultimately helps farmers. He further stated the process of setting up a research facility and common facility center will help the farmer and stakeholders and address the problems of them.

International Rice Research Institute-South Asia regional center (ISARC) also established an exhibition stall and displayed the ongoing research product developed by CERVA using the Kalanamak rice. Gluten-free cookies made from Kalanamak and Chandauli black rice flour offered to the distinguished guests. Central Minister of Agriculture (State) Mr. Kailash Choudhary and Member of Parliament, Domariyaganj, Mr. Jagdambika Pal described it as very tasty and delicious, also appreciate the effort by saying that he is very happy after knowing that IRRI is not only working on varietal development but also on the product development aspects that help the farmer and other stakeholders. Minister Mr. Chaudhary said that the cookies made from Kalanamak rice flour are tasty and delicious and if the self-help group (SHG) learn this technology it may be used to prepare the same. It is a kind of value addition that will help society for the betterment.

Many stalls were set up by different organizations/agencies/seed entrepreneurs/Self-help Groups (SHGs), etc. Most of them were selling the seeds, grain and some of them were preparing the dishes using Kalanamak rice as key ingredients. IRRI stall visited by different farmers/groups and everyone was complaining about the problem of purity and admixture in seed and chalkiness in grain. They were interested to know about the original Kalanamak rice variety. They also raised many questions/queries on low production, long duration, seed purity, organic cultivation, packages, and practices of Kalanamak. Blue bull (Neel Gai) is also a menace in few Kalanamak growing areas. They suggested if research institute/universities can develop high yielding, short duration, lodge-prone, disease resistance Kalanamak variety with all the requisite grain quality will encourage the farmer to grow it. In the last few years, many high-yielding varieties including hybrid replaced Kalanamak due to higher yield and proper window to sow the succeeding rabi crop. Besides this, different types of stress-tolerant rice varieties (submergence, drought, salinity, etc), technology on direct-seeded rice, mechanical transplanting, etc. also displayed and distributed the different types of brochures and quality seed production booklet to farmers.

On the second day of the event, Minister Mr. Kailash Choudhary and M.P. Sri Jagdambika Pal felicitated the Director ISARC, Dr. Sudhanshu Singh for taking the Kalanamak research forward and IRRIs’ commitment to supporting the One District One Product, an innovative program of the Government of Uttar Pradesh.

On the last day of the event, March, 15, a the three hour technical session was also hosted by IRRI to inform the scientists, entrepreneurs, and farmers’ about the research being done by IRRI on grain quality, organic farming, zero budget natural farming, breeding, nutrient management, and scale-appropriate mechanization for the betterment of the premium quality rice varieties. Dr. Sudhanshu Singh gave a brief overview of the IRRI and ISARC, Varanasi, and how ISARC Varanasi can help in doubling the farmers’ income. Mr. Gopesh Tiwari, Head IREP, ISARC Varanasi provided a glimpse that how ISARC will work in the close association with Acharya Narendra Deva University and local Agriculture department for the betterment of the Kalanamak rice variety upliftment of livelihood of farmers involved in its cultivation. Other speakers from IRRI also gave insight on the other aspect of rice research. The session was well acclaimed by the district administration.

IRRI session on March 15, 2021

A three-day ‘Kalanamak Mahotsav’ was organized by the Siddhartnagar district administration from March 13-15, 2021 at Naugarh (Siddhartnagar) to promote the premium rice variety Kalanamak to a wide range of consumers and provide the market for its global export to the growers. IRRI also actively participated in the event, showcased innovative technologies in the exhibition stall, and presented the on-going work on grain quality and aroma done by the Center of Excellence in Rice Value addition (CERVA) in the technical session. A three-hour technical session was also conducted by IRRI on the last day of the Mahotsav followed by a question-answer session for the scientists and farmers working in the region. There were 8 speakers in the session.

The IRRI technical session started with the opening remark of Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, Director ISARC, Varanasi. Dr. Singh briefly provided a glimpse of the work of IRRI and ISARC, Varanasi. He informed that 50% of rice varieties presently under cultivation are developed by IRRI. Kalanamak, a premium rice variety, is a pride of Poorvanchal. Gautam Buddha gave Kalanamak rice seeds to his followers with a blessing that blossom like the fragrance of Kalanamak rice variety. There are several changes in the rice cultural practices in the last three to four decades but this variety exits as usual for the past 2500 years. ‘Kala’ word came from its black husk colour and ‘Namak’ for its better tolerance against salinity stress. He states that this variety may offer an opportunity in the non-basmati aromatic varieties segment but we have to find the best out the best. IRRI’s global presence will boost the global market of Kalanamak in the Buddist countries. He also stated that ISARC is working on the designer rice varieties with better tolerance and resilience against abiotic stresses, low Glycemic Index (GI), and superior nutrient-rich-rice varieties. IRRI wants to extend its support in this area and planning to establish a small office in the niche area for some basic research. He also showed a 1-minute video of ISARC to the audience.

Mr. Gopesh Tiwari, Head IREP, ISARC, Varanasi started his speech that how IRRI played a crucial role to fight hunger and introduce the green revolution in India. He further stated that increasing population, urbanization, and climate change have a negative impact on rice production and productivity and how ISARC can play an important role to tackle these problems. He spoke about all verticals of the ISARC- CERVA, BPRP, and IREP and how IREP is playing an important role in the execution of research work done by CERVA and BPRP in South Asia and Southeast Asia and technical know-how enhancement of the NARES partners across the globe.  He also spoke about the IRRI-ODOP program to be executed in the Siddharthnagar district. This program will be divided into 04 heads-a) identification of the best Kalanamak accessions, b) improvement in the Grain quality and availability of the quality seed and establish seed system c) introduce the scale-appropriate mechanization and entrepreneurship d) capacity development of the stake-holder on the improved package of the practice and global branding of the Kalanamak through the global presence of IRRI.

Dr. B.P. Singh, Ex-Director, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh provided his thoughts on the role of farmers producer organization (FPO) to tackle the burning issues of agriculture in the present scenario. 80% of farmers are small and marginal farmers, with an average landholding of 1 acre. Migration from villages and soil deterioration is also making the scenario grim. The state government is proactively taking it forward and focusing it now on the development of FPO to a one-stop solution for all problems. All govt. officials, bankers will come under one roof with the coordination of the district magistrate to provide the solutions to the group of farmers. He further added that being a long-duration variety, Kalanamak matured by the last week of November making it a bit difficult for the timely sowing of the post-Kalanamak rabi crop. So we have to work in a system mode where a suitable rabi crop variety can be fitted to improve the system productivity.

In the technical session, Dr. Vivek Kumar Singh highlighted the findings of the CERVA lab. Artificial Gut Analyzer provided the Glycemic Index (%), which is an important parameter to categorize the rice varieties suitable for diabetic patients. 71 accession were collected from the Kalanamak growing niches and a Kalanamak garden has been established at ISARC. There was a clear-cut distinction in the grain quality traits of these accessions. Few accessions also depicted better antioxidant properties. Few accession exhibited a better aroma (fatty acid compound) than the Basmati one.

Dr. Ajay Kumar Mishra highlighted the significance of evidence-based evaluation of natural farming systems in Eastern UP. He elaborated on the benefits of organic cultivation and organic inputs and the pathways to improve the grain yield and grain quality traits. Lack of information and knowledge on natural farming practices is a big issue to adopt and scale-out the technology. Govt. of India is also promoting Zero Budget Natural Farming to improve the soil organic content without the application of inorganic fertilizers. ‘Bizamrit’ can be used for seed treatment. ‘Zivamrit’, vermicompost, vermiwash, and Farmyard manure can provide the essential nutrients for crop growth and development.  He also invited the interested farmers to ISARC, Varanasi to show the on-going work on organic cultivation.

Dr. Ashutosh Rai spoke about the on-going breeding work in the Kalanamak improvement. He told we are targeting the three parameters- height, yield, and biotic-stress tolerance. Now we are also targeting the grain quality traits. We have also developed molecular markers for different traits. We may use these molecular markers for trait improvement and disqualify the undesirable traits. ISARC is establishing the speed breeding facility which will provide a boost for the quick evaluation of the breeding materials throughout the year and also provide a less time-frame for the release of the new variety.

Dr. Ashish Kumar Srivastava highlighted the role of different nutrients on the improvement of the grain quality traits. He elaborated that nitrogen application at the time of heading can improve the grain protein which will improve the head rice recovery and solve the problem of the chalkiness. Zinc can influence the development of the fatty acid compound which can boost the aroma development. Likewise, the mother earth is the richest source of silicon but somehow it could not be observed by the plant. An additional dose of silicon (Si) can provide mechanical strength to the stem of the tall rice varieties, it may avert the lodging problem and influence the transportation of other essential nutrients. These nutrients are also beneficial in the tolerance against drought and flood. Iron magnesium can improve the crop yield as well as the grain quality traits like HRR (%) under abiotic stress conditions.

Dr. Ajay Kumar Pundir informed the audience about the mechanization work done by CSISA in the Siddhartnagar district. He told that mechanized options are available here and a 16 t/ha system productivity has been recorded through the seed-drill. It may also solve the problem of farm labor scarcity. Vattar DSR can suppress the weed and weedy rice emergence in the field. 10-12 kg seed is sufficient for the mechanized sowing at a depth of 1-2 cm depth. Mechanical transplanting is also clicking in the district. He informed that a dedicated MAT-type nursery is a prerequisite for mechanical transplanting, which can be grown in a small area with due care.

At the last of the technical session, IRRI scientists also participated in the interaction session with farmers, FPOs, and scientists working in the same stream, the session went well and farmers were satisfied with the solution of their queries.

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