After Rosogolla, Bengal plans GI tags for Kalonunia, Randhunipagal rice
Close on the heels of getting GI ( geographical indication) for Rosogolla, West Bengal government is all geared up to apply for tags for Kalonunia and Randhunipagal varieties of rice. These two are indigenous varieties of aromatic fine rice available in the state. While Kalonunia is grown in the northern region of the state, Randhunipagal is grown in the western part.
Kalonunia is cultivated in the districts of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Darjeeling (plains regions of Birbhum, Pruba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Bankura and Hooghly.
Gobindobhog and Tulapanji, two other aromatic rice varieties, have already received the GI status, and the term 'Bengal Aromatic Rice' has been included in official documentation registered with the patent office. Kalonunia and Randhunipagal would fall under the same label.
Gobindobhog and Tulapanji are primarily grown in the Damodar river basin and in the districts of north Bengal, respectively Getting a GI tag helps a product to be marketed as exclusively from the geographical region it hails from, be it a food product, a beverage, a fruit, a handicraft, a handloom product or any other regionally exclusive entity. The Bengal Government has been actively patenting various products in order to market them internationally too.
The demand would naturally also help in saving these indigenous varieties of rice, which are nutritionally rich, but many of which are facing extinction as a result of the cultivation of only the commercially viable varieties. In fact, the state government is carrying on research work with 41 such rice varieties.
Kalonunia, a medium-sized blackish grain, is produced at the rate of 2.2 to 2.4 tonnes per hectare of cultivated paddy, while the small-sized Randhunipagal is produced at the rate of 2.3 to 2.5 tonnes per hectare of cultivated paddy. These are eaten as plain rice or as an alternative to Basmati (in the case of Kalonunia) and as the principal component of payesh, pithe and khichuri bhog for pujas.
According to officials of the state's science and technology department, preparation of the documentation to be presented by the state to the patenting authority is almost complete.
By BOA Bureau