Padma Shri Winner’s Secret to Saving Kerala’s Paddy Seeds: A Tale of Triumph

As every farmer is showing interest in growing high-yield rice varieties these days, it has become very rare to find native varieties of rice.  However, in Wayanad, there are many types of native rice varieties stored by the tribal farmers for decades.

They also fall in danger of going extinct. But one tribal man, in Wayanad, has decided to restore all the native varieties of rice and over the last two decades, he solely saving the rice varieties of India, even now, at the age of 72.

Interesting right? if you want to know the back story of this tribal man on why he started, how many varieties he collected, and from when he started. Check out the article below!!!

Inspiring Story of  Tribal Farmer (Cheruvayal Raman) Who Saved 54 Rice Varieties in 20 Years

India’s “Living Paddy Gene Bank”, “Guardian of Native Paddy”, and Padma Shri award winner, he is none other than Cheruvayal Raman with the age of 72 years but still has a passion for working on the farm.

He is the only one who saved 54 native rice varieties, from the last two decades as everyone is switching to hybrid and high-yield rice varieties.

Cheruvayal Raman is a tribal farmer born in the Aadivasi community of Kurichayas in Wayanad. Kurichayas is a tribe that has a long history of preserving and promoting native varieties of rice. Even Raman spent the majority of his life producing rice.

He observed that native rice varieties are being replaced with hybrid seeds in the village, so he decided to sow the native varieties of seeds in the 1.5-acre portion of his field.

Normally, Raman started his journey as a tribal farmer when he was just ten years old. After some years things took a turn for the better and Raman got 40 acres of land in 1969, after his uncle passed away.

From then he was completely into cultivating, and now, just by seeing the seeds he can tell the variety of seeds.

Here we will look into some of the varieties of native rice seeds saved by him.

  • Chembakam
  • Palveliyan
  • Thondi
  • Mannu Veliyan
  • Jeerakasala (Aromatic Rice)
  • Kanali
  • Channalthondi
  • Gandhakasala (Aromatic Rice)
  • Kayama (Aromatic Rice)

All these native rice varieties that he has saved will be stored at a 150-year-old mud house.

He said, ” After every harvest, I myself clean and dry all the seeds before I stash them safely at my home, which doubles up as a storeroom. I have been relentlessly doing it year after year”.

Finally, after all these years of cultivation, Raman has stored 54 varieties of native rice. And he will tell the difference of rice just by seeing them.

Here, one more exciting thing is, that Raman will not sell his seeds that are stored for money to others, but he will give them on one condition, the borrower should return the same quantity of seeds from their field after the first harvest.

Recently, the Government of India honored Raman with Padma Shri, and not only this he has received many awards, from several organizations like Plant Genome Saviour.

South First reported Raman was willing to delegate the duty of conserving these indigenous rice, to any research center, interested individuals, and agricultural university.

Even check out another story of How Pune Brothers Quit Jobs For Organic Farming & Earn Crores Turnover/Month?

Key Takeaways

We hope that the story of Cheruvayal Raman who is Kerala’s 72-YO ‘Guardian of Native Paddy’ has Saved 54 Rice Varieties in 20 Years has inspired each and every one of you who read this article.

And one more thing, he is interested in sharing his knowledge and is interested and willing to learn about these native varieties of rice.

Still, if you want to know other interesting stories of farmers, like From Lab Coats to Field Success: Pune Scientist Duo’s NutriSens Boosts Farmer Yields, check out our website.

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