RAIPUR: College of Agriculture and Research Station (Kanker) is making extensive efforts to transform Chhattisgarh’s Naxal-hit South Bastar region as a hub for production of ‘Black Rice’, a variety with low Glycemic Index (GI) which can be consumed even by people with diabetes or at a risk of the disease. 

“Apart from low Glycemic Index (GI), black rice helps in fighting cancer and heart disease due to availability of Anthocyanin, which is responsible for black colour of the rice,” explained Assistant Professor of College of Agriculture and Research Station (Kanker), Dr A Qureshi.

Notably, GI is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.

“College of Agriculture and Research Station (Kanker) has collected four germplasms of black rice and are working on its cultivation. Owning to the importance and health benefits of black rice, an experiment trail has been conducted at the Agriculture College farm in Kanker to evaluate genotype in Chhattisgarh condition. A PG Scholar Atul Dhurde under the guidance of Dean Dr M L Sharma is looking after this trail where different levels of nutrients and their sources are being tested in Northern Bastar condition. Since, Northern Bastar has geographical condition similar to plain and plateau, the probability of best result for cultivation of black rice may be achieved here,” the Assistant Professor said. 

Dr Qureshi further stated that harvesting will take place on the first week of November this year. If everything goes well, cultivation of black rice may emerge as a profitable crop for farmer of Bastar due to its high demand globally. 

Since premium rate of this variety is very high, next course of action will be its multiplication, said the Assistant Professor, elaborating that based on result of experiments, recommendation for its cultivation will be made to farmers in the near future.

Around 200 years ago, black rice was considered as forbidden variety in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and some other part as it is only available to people belonging to royal families for consumption, highlighted Dr Qureshi.  

The assistant professor further informed that as compare to white and brown rice, black rice carries more amounts of Protein, Fibre and Iron. 

Dr Qureshi state that to a major extent, diabetics, obesity, high blood pressure and other health issues are linked to food habits, particularly intake of carbohydrate, adding that black rice may emerge as a great substitute for white rice (which contribute a major part in Indian food habit)

Highlighting the health benefits of black rice, Dr Qureshi said that it keeps the heart healthy, carries anti-aging properties along with anti-oxidants which helps detoxify body, helps in weight management, keeps cancer away, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammation to name a few.