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Pokkali Rice: Kerala

  • 06 Aug 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Farmers in West Bengal are experimenting with the pokkali variety of rice to tide over a crisis-like situation created by severe seawater incursion into paddy fields in the Sundarbans (owing to Cyclone Amphan).

  • Vyttila-11 varieties of pokkali seedlings were brought from Kerala.

Key Points

  • The pokkali variety of rice is known for its saltwater resistance and flourishes in the rice paddies of coastal Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts of Kerala.
    • The single-season paddy is raised in saltwater fields between June and November followed by a season of fish-farming.
  • The uniqueness of the rice has brought it the Geographical Indication (GI) tag and is the subject of continuing research.
  • Given its ability to thrive under harsh climatic conditions and produce high yield, it can help in promoting climate-resilient agriculture.
  • Pokkali has medicinal properties and its higher value of antioxidants and low carbohydrate content makes it preferable to those on a low sugar diet.
  • Vyttila-11 is the latest variety of pokkali developed by the Kerala Agricultural University.
    • It yields about 5 tonnes per hectare.
    • The crop duration is about 110 days.
  • Other GI Tag Registered Varieties from Kerala: Kaipad, Wayanad Jeerakasala, Wayanad Gandhakasala, Palakkadan Matta and Navara.
  • Further, the Kuttanad below-sea level farming system has been recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS).
    • It is unique as it practices rice cultivation below sea level.

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems

  • Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) was started by the FAO to safeguard and support the world's agricultural heritage systems.
  • GIAHS are outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage.
  • Three recognised GIAHS sites in India:
    • Pampore Saffron Heritage of Kashmir.
    • Koraput Traditional Agriculture of Odisha.
    • Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming System of Kerala.

Source: TH

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