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Landrace Nutrition in Diverse Agro-Ecologies

Short term Project: Testing and Comparing the Nutritional properties of Traditional varieties of Rice grown in diverse Agro-Ecological zones

Duration: 3 months

Project Promoters: Samanvaya, Nammalvar Multiversity, Tamil Nadu Iyarkai Vivasayigal Koottamaippu (TNIVK)


Background: Traditional rice varieties, also termed as land races are sources of diverse nutritional properties.  Two factors have enhanced their need in recent times, viz., the immunity enhancement demand since the pandemic and need to cultivate climate change resilience among the food crops. On both counts there are several advantages for the traditional rice varieties.  These varieties have been conserved primarily with the participation of the organic farmer groups in the state through community based individual and collective efforts. Increasingly governments, research organizations and agri-corporates are also interested in these land races.   

Limitation in Knowledge: Community based efforts are often lacking in access to research agenda and resources. One of the areas that needs to be documented is the nutritional properties of the land races under diverse conditions. While empirical observations have such variations identified, they have not been scientifically documented. A Nation-wide proposal for such research is required for the hyper local solution creation.  

Introduction of the Pilot Study Proposed: Testing the nutritional property of traditional rice variety grown in multiple locations to ascertain the diversity in the manifesting of nutrition in them. 

Outcome: This will establish the need for a larger study that will document the diversities in the nutritional properties based on other factors including land, water, soil, inputs, practices, etc., and the relationship[p between varietal nutritional content and ecosystem. Wherever there are differences which are extreme, the local factors will be studied which includes the soil, inputs, water, practices, seeds source, etc., 

Impact anticipated: This is the preliminary study for a longer study with the title - Understanding Land in the Nutrition of Traditional Rice which will be done over a complete season period across the country. This pilot will facilitate and build the baseline for such a larger project in which government, and research institutions will be involved and it has the potential to determine the future of the rice based research in the country

Activities: This will be a participative action research with the following activities – 

  1. Document a few traditional varieties through farmer’s observation and how their traditional characters changes with change in location. Observe the manifested in their traditional habitat and in a couple of non-traditional diverse habitats. 
  2. Test and tabulate the nutrition content of the grain varieties in these locations to document the differences. 
  3. Document the observed changes by the farmers and consumers on the varieties in the three locations and the reasons they ascribe to the same. 
  4. Document the entire biome that supports the traditional crop in its habitat through video and local narratives.


What will we test

  • Physicochemical properties
  • Physical characteristics 
  • Textural properties
  • Quality analysis
  • Nutrient composition
  • Milling characteristics 

Team: Currently the team consists of the following members – 

Mr. Ramasubramanian, Director, Samanvaya Social Ventures Pvt. Ltd., and World Bank  / FAO Consultant for several large livelihood projects.

Ms. Subashini Sridhar, Director, Valanadu Farmer Producer Company., - a community based farmer producer company in the Mayiladuthurai area of Tamil Nadu. She is a renowned expert in the domain of organic farming, specializing in bio-pesticides. 

Mr. Baskar Manikegalai, Director, Nammalvar Multiversity – an unique venture that brings together civil society, academia and policy making together. 


Currently the following renowned practitioners / academics have agreed to be Advisors for the project – 

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Ismail, Member, State Planning Commission of Tamil Nadu – considered one of the best experts in soil nutrition in the country and across the world. 

Ms. Deepika Kundoji, Steward, Pebble Garden – one of the foremost expert in traditional variety seed conservation  in the country.  

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