Folk Rice Conservation at Majuli Island, Assam, India
Majuli ( Ma- mother Goddess Lakshmi, Juli- Granary) island of Assam has amazing biodiversity with rich cultural tradition.pollution free weather. The island is by default organic in nature and most of the inhabitants posses cattle.Crops grow well with newly deposited silt of Bramhaputra and Subarnasiri river,flood occurs each year and its a boon for them. People, in general are not leaving the island in search of petty job in cities.No sign of malnutrition and beggars was found.
Main crops are rice, sugar cane, black gram, wheat, mustard, potato and vegetables. There are four types of rice depending upon the season it is grown. AHU- Autumn Paddy harvested in Sept Oct, SALI- Winter paddy- grown in rainy season and BAU- deep water paddy, BORO- summer paddy grown during winter months.More than 60 traditional deep water rice varieties with fish cum paddy culture and no-boiling rice Komol -eaten with sour curd and molasses are in cultivation. Main crops are rice, sugarcane,black gram, mustard, wheat, banana, vegetables, potato, betel nut, tree betel vine, cane, MOTRA etc. Fish cum paddy culture is very common in some places. Deep water rice is harvested by country boats. There is no brown plant hopper of rice, sheath blight,leaf curl virus of chili etc.
Mr Debjit Borah of Majuli speaks of different folk rice varieties in Assamese and he was instrumental in introducing me with Assamese and tribal farmers. These were grown organically rather with zero input. The grain yield is around 3.5-4 ton/ha. Most of the rice varieties are reddish in colour and it is hard to digest, small amount of rice sufficient for an adult unlike so called High Yielding rice Varieties ( modern varieties). I feel greatly honoured that Deora tribe has offered their highest award on 17 Oct 2013 by giving the GAMOCHA a kind of UTTARIYA kept at the neck as per Vaishnab culture.It is more than 10 promotions and money in my service life.My best wishes to Deora tribe.We must protect the pristine environment of Majuli. It is an example for the main stream agriculturists as these people are living with the nature and eating fresh poison free food. However, the Ag Dept of Assam is trying to disturb the ecosystem by pushing the hybrid technologies and chemicals but people are reluctant to accept it. It is an out of track technology.