Amid floods, Kala Namak bumper harvest makes East UP farmers smile - Hindustan Times
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Amid floods, Kala Namak bumper harvest makes East UP farmers smile

ByAbdul Jadid, Gorakhpur
Sep 09, 2021 12:39 AM IST

Experts shared data of a record 50,000 hectare land being cultivated this year with Kala Namak in 11 districts of East UP

Hundreds of farmers of the world famous GI-tagged Kala Namak rice, in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, finally have a reason to smile.

A lush Kala Namak rice crop standing somewhere in East UP (HT Photo)
A lush Kala Namak rice crop standing somewhere in East UP (HT Photo)

The lush Kala Namak crop is nothing less than a sight to behold for them. Incessant rain and the resulting floods have not only created favourable conditions for a huge produce of the aroma-rich Kala Namak rice, but also saved the farmers money, which would have otherwise been spent on regular irrigation, experts said.

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They shared data of a record 50,000 hectare land being cultivated this year with Kala Namak in 11 districts of East UP, an unprecedented increase of 1,000 acres in Kala Namak cultivation, after decades.

Anil Tiwari, Heritage Foundation Trustee, said, “The major increase in cultivated area of Kala Namak can be attributed to the government’s initiative to encourage farmers to produce this variety, under several state and central schemes including, ODOP (one district one product), FPO (Farmer Producer Organization) and CFC (Common Facility Centres).

“This year, the farmers are expecting a bumper harvest, despite floods. The incessant rain and flood have provided favourable conditions and crop production is likely to see a never-before boost. The best thing is that the paddy crop, if not completely inundated (part containing grain remains out of water), can survive and grow in water-logged fields. The crop sown in June-July will be ready for harvest by October-end or first week of November.”

He said that 10,000 hectares of land has been cultivated with Kala Namak crop in Siddharthnagar, followed by Gorakhpur (9,000), Maharajganj (8,000) Basti (3,000), Bahraich (3,000), Deoria (3,000) and Shravasti (1,000), among other districts.

Elated by the good yield in his five acre farm, progressive farmer Chandrika Prasad of Siddharthnagar, said, “Since the last few years, I have not seen such a good crop. And this comes to us at zero cost of irrigation.”

Dr Ram Chet Chaudhary, agriculture scientist who is connected with the Participatory Rural Development Foundation, said, “In 1960, the total cultivation of Kala Namak stood at 50,000 hectares, which reduced to just 2,000 hectares in 2000. After getting a GI tag in 2010-11 and introduction of its variety KN-3, its cultivation went up to 10,000 hectares, and shot up further to 20,000 in 2016. After the formation of the Yogi Government, its cultivation reached a record high again at 50,000 hectares.

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