Nirmal farmer swears by black rice

Nalla Manmohan Reddy, an organic farmer of Nirmal, selling black rice to customers in Adilabad.

Adilabad/Nirmal: Nalla Manmohan Reddy, a young organic farmer from Nirmal district, is cultivating black rice, believed to have been consumed in India 2,500 years ago. He is producing the primitive rice variety since seven years and selling it in different parts of North Telangana. He claims that many farmers were going in for the ancient grains, considering their nutritional values.

A native of Chincholi of Sarangapur in the district, Manmohan Reddy told ‘Telangana Today’ that he had ventured to raise the forgotten black rice crop in 2011 when he came to know about the existence of the variety through his 103-year old great grandmother, Lingamma. He stated that he was registering a yield of five quintals of this produce per acre and was currently selling the rice variety at Rs 100 per kg.

This committed organic farmer is now reaping dividends by trying something unique, with this ancient variety of rice evoking encouraging response from various parts of not only Nirmal, but Adilabad and Nizamabad districts. Some people from Hyderabad were also buying the rice from the past few months, he said.

Seeds from Nizamabad

An organic farming trainer, Manmohan Reddy recollected that he had brought barely 50 gm of seeds of black rice from a veteran farmer belonging to Nizamabad district and developed the seeds over a period of three years. He recalled that he had started organic farming after being influenced by Subhash Palekar, a renowned agriculture scientist who propagates this method of agriculture.

Nutritionists say that black rice contains high level of antioxidants and is a rich source of proteins and dietary fibre. The outermost layer of the grain has large amounts of the antioxidant, anthocyanin. The amount of anthocyanin present in the black rice is higher than any other grain, including brown rice, red rice or other colored whole grain varieties.

Can prevent diseases

One can ward off the risk of diabetes and obesity by consuming this rice variety. Eating this variety may also leave a positive impact on healthy cholesterol level, says Reddy. The anthocyanins phytochemicals found in black rice reduce the low-density Lipo-protein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, that causes cardiovascular diseases. It also brings down the total cholesterol levels.