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Black Rice Cultivation: Unlocking Double Profits for Farmers

Rajnish Kumar Upadhyay, a graduate in law from Banaras Hindu University who transitioned into farming, originates from Moudiha village in the Rohtas district of Bihar. Commencing black rice cultivation in 2018, he has become a trailblazer in the region, inspiring other farmers to follow suit. Presently, the cultivation of black rice has expanded to approximately 100 acres, marking a significant development in the area. The primary drivers behind the increasing popularity of black rice cultivation are its impressive yield and lucrative returns on investment. In an exclusive interview with The Interview World, Rajnish delves into his multifaceted experiences in black rice cultivation, shedding light on various aspects of this agricultural endeavour.

Q: Why black rice is gaining popularity among farmers?

A: The growing popularity of black rice has created a market demand for this variety. Farmers may choose to cultivate this variety to meet this demand and capitalize on its rising popularity, potentially leading to higher market prices. Presently, states such as Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Karnataka are actively cultivating this nutrient-rich rice variety. As a result, they are experiencing significant growth in their farm incomes, driven by successful exports to various countries including Australia, the UK, the USA, Thailand, Denmark, and Malaysia, among others. Some varieties of black rice are known for their resilience to certain environmental conditions, such as drought or flooding. This makes them attractive to farmers looking for crops that can withstand varying climate conditions.

Q: Why is black rice considered a superfood?

A: As people become more health-conscious, there is an increasing demand for foods that are not only tasty but also nutritious. Black rice fits into this trend as a nutrient-dense alternative to more traditional rice varieties. It is endowed with anthocyanins, the compounds responsible for its distinctive black hue, and they play a crucial role in conferring potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Additionally, it is a rich source of essential carotenoids known for enhancing eye health. Notably, it is naturally gluten-free and boasts a nutritional profile that includes ample protein, iron, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and natural fiber, making it conducive to weight loss. Recognized as a natural detoxifier, its regular consumption contributes to the prevention of various ailments such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and hypertension, among others.

Q: How much yield are you getting per acre and what price are you getting for kg?

A: Black rice typically yields 10-12 quintals per acre. The processed rice is priced at Rs. 250, and it is subsequently sold for approximately Rs. 300-500 per kilogram. This renders black rice cultivation a highly profitable venture, prompting farmers in neighboring districts to engage in extensive cultivation of this variety.

Q: What’s your vision for the next five years down the line as a pioneering farmer?

A: Positive developments are evident in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and North-West Bihar, particularly in the cultivation of black rice. There is a noticeable upward trend, and I anticipate a substantial tenfold increase in its production in my home district within the next five years. The advancement in e-commerce is noteworthy, as health-conscious consumers are now directly sourcing it from local producers. This trend signifies an expanding market reach for local farmers, enabling them to capitalize on the advantages of the ongoing digital revolution in the country.

Black Rice
Black Rice
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