Palampur: Red rice, known for its medicinal properties and nutritionally superior, will now get Geographical Indication (GI) registration.

Agriculture University Palampur has submitted an application for the GI registration of Japonica Red Rice of the state to the Geographical Indications Registry Office, Chennai.

Vice-Chancellor Prof H.K Chaudhary said that the University was working on three projects on the aspect of GI tagging of Red Rice of the state, Karsog Kulthi and Chamba Chukh.

He has directed the scientists to file at least fifty GI registration applications in this Golden Jubilee of H.P. Statehood.  After getting GI, the farmers get national and international recognition for that particular crop or commodity which helps them to get highly remunerative prices benefitting them financially.

Elaborating on red rice, Prof Chaudhary said that one of the many treasures of Himachal Pradesh is its red rice varieties. These include Chhohartu from Shimla district; Sukara, Jhinjan and Karad from Chamba district; Jattu, Deval and Matali from Kullu district and Desi Dhan, Kalizhini, Achhoo, and Begmi from Kangra district grown in different parts of the state at different altitudes.

Red kernelled rice command a higher price, are nutritionally superior, rich in iron and zinc and numerous trace elements and vitamins and in addition have high anti-oxidant properties. These red rice varieties belong to both Indica and japonica sub-species. 

Prof H.K Chaudhary told that unlike the red rice of Kerala and other states, the red rice of H.P is adapted to cooler climates. In view of this, the University is making efforts to get GI for Japonica Red Rices adapted to areas above 1000m amsl in the State.

In addition of being nutritive and having medicinal value, red rice possesses many other special features. Red rice is also an important part of all religious ceremonies in Himachal Pradesh.

Chhohartu, a farmers’ red rice variety grown in Chhohara Valley, Rohru (Shimla) is a part of the cultural heritage of the area.

Agriculture University has maintained about 30 landraces of red rice collected from different parts of the State. The University has released two improved varieties of red rice viz; HPR 2720 (Palam Lal Dhan 1) and HPR 2795(Him Palam Lal Dhan 1) with high iron and zinc content besides having tolerance to major diseases and pests.

The University has got the ‘Chhoartu Lal Dhan’ landrace from Rohru registered from the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers Rights Authority at the national level.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.