Siddharthnagar’s ODOP Kala Namak rice is a hit

ODOP Kala Namak rice

Lucknow: Since Kala Namak rice was designated as the One District One Product (ODOP) of Siddharthnagar under the initiative of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, its popularity has surged. This is evident from a 20 percent increase in the sale of its seed compared to last year.

Known for its exceptional taste, aroma, and nutritional value, Kala Namak rice is also gaining traction in other states. This year, there has been significant demand for its seeds from Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, and Haryana.

According to Padma Shri awardee and agricultural scientist Dr. RC Chaudhary, who has dedicated two decades to studying Kala Namak rice, the demand for the seeds of the GI-tagged product from Chhattisgarh is almost as high as the demand from the 11 districts of Purvanchal.

Shraddhanand Tiwari of Uttam Beej Bhandar, a prominent seed seller in Gorakhpur, also confirms the increased seed demand. He notes that the demand for the seeds of Kala Namak rice seeds is higher than last year, leading to a significant rise in supplier companies.

This competition has kept the prices of this particular variety of rice affordable. Both experts attribute the current craze for Kala Namak paddy to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s determined efforts.

In Uttar Pradesh, there is strong demand for Kala Namak rice seeds from districts such as Ballia, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Sultanpur, Prayagraj, Unnao, and Pratapgarh, as well as from various other states and districts.

According to agricultural scientist Dr. RC Chaudhary, the cultivation area of Kala Namak rice in districts was around 80,000 hectares last year. Based on current seed sales data, this area will reach 100,000 hectares in 2024.

With the inclusion of other districts and states, the total cultivation area will be significantly higher than expected. Over the past seven years, it has nearly quadrupled. In 2016, the area was just 2,200 hectares, but by 2022, it had grown to over 70,000 hectares. The area is projected to exceed 100,000 hectares by 2024.

The Yogi government has played a significant role in boosting the popularity of Kala Namak rice. Following Siddharthnagar’s designation as an ODOP (One District One Product), the government undertook various initiatives to promote it.

Senior officials visited Siddharthnagar, held meetings with farmers, and conducted field visits to understand their challenges on the instructions of the Chief Minister.

Furthermore, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath himself inaugurated the Kala Namak Mahotsav in Kapilvastu. Additionally, Kala Namak rice was given as a gift hamper to guests from Buddhist countries at the International Buddhist Festival in Kushinagar and is now a staple in gift hampers for special occasions.

Two years ago, the Chief Minister inaugurated the Common Facility Center (CFC) for Kala Namak in Siddharthnagar, providing state-of-the-art grading and packing facilities under one roof. The results of these efforts are evident. Moreover, two years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi honored the then District Magistrate Deepak Meena for his work in popularizing Kala Namak.

Seeing its craze among farmers, the government is focusing on conducting research on Kala Namak rice. Varanasi-based IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) is researching it, conducting trials on several varieties. The variety that is better in the trials will be popularized among farmers.

Last year, IRRI made available 15 varieties of Kala Namak to Sustainable Human Development, an organization working among farmers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, for demonstration in small areas in one place. Whichever variety is the best at harvesting will be popularized among farmers. NBRI is also working on a research project on Kala Namak.


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