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Chhattisgarh develops rice variety to fight malnutrition, drought

Zinc Rice-1 is first zinc bio-fortified rice variety in country

R Krishna Das  |  Raipur 

Branded basmati sales to touch 2.9 mt

Chhattisgarh’s agriculture scientists have developed a rice variety with high zinc content that would be of great use to deal with the malnutrition.

A team of researchers from Raipur-based Indira Gandhi Agriculture University (IGAU)-led by Professor Girish Chandel have explored the two varieties of high zinc rice of which one has been recently released. The variety had been named “Chhattisgarh Zinc Rice-1”, the first zinc bio-fortified rice variety in country.

“The variety discovered with the rich zinc content will have a maturity period of 110 days and will be suitable in adverse climatic condition,” Chandel told Business Standard. Even in the drought condition, the variety would give a good yield, he said, adding that the productivity of the paddy is expected to be about 50 quintal per hectare.

The proposal had been sent to the Central Variety Release Committee (CVRC) for the notification of the seed that had already been approved by the state-level committee facilitating its distribution within the state.

The authorities had distributed seeds to 2,500 farmers across the state of Chhattisgarh for trial and response from the farmers. After getting the approval, the commercial production of seed would start for distribution beyond state boundary.

According to Chandel, the zinc content in the paddy variety would vary from 22-24 parts per million (PPM) that would be about 8-9 PPM more than the regular variety available in the country. He added that the rice variety would be helpful for the government campaign against malnutrition as a small proportion of zinc content in food makes big difference in the health condition.

Medical researchers had underlined that zinc is most famous for its immune-boosting perks. It helps balance body’s response to infection, besides preventing out-of-control inflammation.

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First Published: Fri, January 15 2016. 13:15 IST