Oil crisis promotes heritage rice varieties

Dept. of Silver Linings:

Sri Lanka’s farmers who grow paddy for their home needs are now discovering a new trend. Instead of the widely-cultivated hybrid varieties they have opted to grow more traditional varieties of paddy as the latter are more nutritious, rich in taste, pest-resistant and need no artificial, petroleum-based fertilizer.

Apparently some farmers are keeping more than 350 different traditional varieties.

4 Replies to “Oil crisis promotes heritage rice varieties”

  1. Farmers with more than 350 varieties… on paper. “There are farmers who still have lists of more than 350 different traditional paddy varieties.”

  2. Agreed, on paper. And we all know that distinct names are not necessarily distinct varieties, or that identical names are not necessarily identical varieties.

    But still, it is kinda impressive, no?

  3. Yes, that would indeed be impressive, regardless of the definition of “variety”. But I don’t think the article means to say that farmers actually have 350 varieties on a single farm. They have lists.

    Where do the lists come from, and which varieties are on it? Are these lists of varieties available to them from seed banks, etc. from which they can order seed?

    Having 350 varieties of rice on a farm sounds very unlikely. How would a farm with 350 varieties look like?

  4. Agree, this article in Asian Tribune offers little more than a rhetorical silver lining. Rice diversity narratives is linked to murky ethno-chauvinism in this part of the world, and when the article goes via quotes from a minister of the present nationalist government to the usual biopiracy xenophobia there are reasons to be skeptical.

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