Geographic and Genetic Diversity of Rice ( Oyza sativa) in the State of Kerala

Leena Kumary S

Abstract


Rice is the staple food of the people of Kerala and traditionally the cultivation of rice has occupied pride of place in the agrarian economy of the State. Kerala is probably the only state in the country developing and releasing red rice varieties on a routine basis. There is a strong traditional preference among Keralites for coarse varieties with red pericarp as they are considered to be more nutritious. Parboiled rice is consumed predominantly in Kerala. Parboiling is believed to enhance nutritional quality as it helps in retaining many of the nutrients especially vitamins which get diffused into the deeper layers of the kernel. Peninsular India is considered to be the centre of origin of cultivated rice ( O. sativa. L) and enough phyto geographical evidences exist to support the consideration by earlier workers that the Malabar coast is the primary center of origin of rice. Considering the variation in resource endowments, topography, soil, abiotic factors and seasonal differences, rice grown in the state are grouped under different agro eco systems and are described in the paper. The rice ecologies of Kerala are highly heterogenous. Due to natural and artificial selections over long periods of time have given rise to a large number of traditional varieties suited to each ecological regions in Kerala. The full spectrum of genetic resources of rice in Kerala consists of wild as well as weedy relatives, primitive cultivars or land races, commercial types, pureline selections of farmers varieties, hybrid derivatives and mutants. Of these, the wild and weedy relatives and the land races are precious gene reservoirs evolved through natural selection. The author elaborates on the rice diversity seen in the different rice growing regions of Kerala.Rice is the staple food of the people of Kerala and traditionally the cultivation of rice has occupied pride of place in the agrarian economy of the State. Kerala is probably the only state in the country developing and releasing red rice varieties on a routine basis. There is a strong traditional preference among Keralites for coarse varieties with red pericarp as they are considered to be more nutritious. Parboiled rice is consumed predominantly in Kerala. Parboiling is believed to enhance nutritional quality as it helps in retaining many of the nutrients especially vitamins which get diffused into the deeper layers of the kernel. Peninsular India is considered to be the centre of origin of cultivated rice ( O. sativa. L) and enough phyto geographical evidences exist to support the consideration by earlier workers that the Malabar coast is the primary center of origin of rice. Considering the variation in resource endowments, topography, soil, abiotic factors and seasonal differences, rice grown in the state are grouped under different agro eco systems and are described in the paper. The rice ecologies of Kerala are highly heterogenous. Due to natural and artificial selections over long periods of time have given rise to a large number of traditional varieties suited to each ecological regions in Kerala. The full spectrum of genetic resources of rice in Kerala consists of wild as well as weedy relatives, primitive cultivars or land races, commercial types, pureline selections of farmers varieties, hybrid derivatives and mutants. Of these, the wild and weedy relatives and the land races are precious gene reservoirs evolved through natural selection. The author elaborates on the rice diversity seen in the different rice growing regions of Kerala.

Full Text:

PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.