ALAPPUZHA: Bhadra, Asha, Pavizham, Karthika, Aruna, Makom... It may appear like the roll call in a girls’ school. In fact, they are paddy varieties developed through cross breeding at the Kerala Agricultural University’s Rice Research Station (RRS) at Mankombu. The bountiful future of several varieties of paddy is secure in this research facility.
As many as 180 rare varieties of paddy from across the state are preserved here. It has also developed 22 high yielding versions from ancient varieties through decades-long research. According to RRS professor Reena Mathew, the station has been coming out with disease-resistant strains suitable for the ecology of Kuttanad and deep water farming.
“The scientists of the centre have separated the characteristics of the old varieties and developed new ones through cross pollination,” she said. “Chitteni, Thavalakannan, Chettivirippu and many more varieties have been protected in the centre for future generations and study. The genetic mapping of paddy started around two decades ago. Researchers identified the genes of the old varieties and developed it through cross pollination. Commonly used by farmers of Kuttanad, Uma is one such type. It is high yielding,” Reena said.
Kalladachembavu, Chettivirippu and Kunjathikkira are three traditional varieties of Kuttanad developed without changing the pattern. Bhadra, Asha, Pavizham, Karthika, Aruna, Makom, Remya, Kanakam, Rajani, Pavithra, Panchami, Remanika, Uma, Revathy, Karishma, Krishnanjana and Shreyas are the seeds developed through cross breeding. Reena said as many as 25 varieties of Navara are also preserved in the station.