A book written by a scientist of the Central Agricultural University at Imphal in Manipur sent P Devakanta, a farmer from Manipur, in search of the rice varieties of his State. So far, after covering almost 70 per cent villages of Manipur, Devakanta is in possession of 256 indigenous varieties of rice from Manipur including wild rice.
A report published in DNA quoted Devakanta, who cultivates 120 varieties of rice in his own farm, as saying, “Manipur alone has more than 500 varieties of rice. I have so far managed to trace only 265 of them. I got curious about it after reading the book. Preserving the varieties takes a lot of time and energy.”
“It started in 2012 as a hobby. At that time I grew 10 varieties in my field. It was my passion to collect the varieties,” said Devakanta who has also found the All Manipur Trained Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Promoters Consortium in a bid to encourage more farmers to plant the variety of crops. He also believes that farming can provide a very good employment opportunity for youth in an insurgency-hit State.
The report further stated that so far Devakanta has encouraged over 1,000 farmers to plant the various variety of rice. In fact, he believes that every farmer is a scientist in his own right because he has a lot of knowledge about what he sows. And he says that since he grows his own food – rice and vegetables – he does not have to worry much about money and earnings.