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Rice aroma set to reach overseas

- Farmer produces rare basmati variety naturally

Aroma from a new variety of basmati rice developed by a local entrepreneur without the use of chemical fertilisers is set to enter the kitchens of the world.

A Karnataka-based food supply company, CAD Private Limited, has asked the entrepreneur to provide rice samples.

The Don region of Champaran is famous for producing a wide range of aromatic rice because of its rare soil and soothing climate. But the one developed by Sushil Chhapolia is said to be better in terms of aroma and flavour. The rice has been developed on the “zero budgeting system”.

Instead of using any chemical fertiliser during cultivation, entrepreneur Chhapolia has taken help of gau-mutra (cow’s urine), milk and mattha (curd blend) for growing the aromatic basmati rice.

The rice is grown on a three-acre farm in Silvatia Bagro village under Ramnagar block of West Champaran. Leaves of neem and sharifa (custard apple) and waste-wood of tobacco plant are used as insecticide.

“Because of the rice’s quality and taste, the director of the Karnataka-based company, P.K. Singh, has decided to export it to countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, UK and US. He has asked for 50 quintals of rice as sample in the first phase. The aromatic variety of basmati rice is in great demand during festivals and special occasions by people of Indian origin who live abroad,” Chhapolia said.

The variety, which has been named Champaran Don Basmati by Chhapolia, is grown in the natural farming pattern.

On the possibilities of such unique natural farming process, the chief scientist (rice) of Agriculture Research Institute, Patna, Ajay Kumar, said: “It is very much possible because of Champaran’s climate and soil variety. This region is famous for the production of aromatic basmati rice. The inherent fertility of the soil has not been tampered with for years.”

Echoing Kumar, the head of division (crop research) of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Patna, S.S. Singh, said: “It is not impossible to grow such products naturally because the aromatic rice variety of Champaran is of a photo-sensitive nature, which requires 50 per cent less nutrition for high yield.”

The soil in most parts of West Champaran contains excess quantity of nitrogen because of organic carbon. Potash is also present in surplus in Champaran soil because of sufficient (80 per cent) presence of phosphorus.

The additional supplement of natural manure with cow dung, cow urine, gur and besan also helps in keeping the soil fertility intact.

The spray of herbal water prepared with the help of leaves of neem, sharifa, guava and tobacco waste-wood helps activate the natural parasites and predators in fighting the insects harmful for the crop.