The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

State Confers Award to Navara Eco Farm for Saving Rare Rice Variety

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Mr. Narayanan Unny and his Navara Eco farm are featured in N.J. Prabu’s article in The Hindu.

“Navara is a medicinal rice variety and its cultivation is almost extinct. Many reasons such as non-availability of pure seeds, low yield and high production cost are attributed for this. The speciality is that this is the only organically grown navara rice farm in the region,” says Mr. P. Narayanan Unni, a third generation marketing executive-turned-farmer, running the everyday activities of the farm.
Unlike other rice varieties, which are white in colour, navara is deep red and has been cultivated in the Palghat region for more than 2,000 years but in the last 40- 50 years it has come close to being completely wiped out due to several new hybrid varieties being introduced.
Focus
After taking over the farm’s management about 15 years ago, Mr. Unni decided to turn his attention to conserving native rice varieties in the region. He figured out that many of the traditional varieties are fast becoming extinct.
“I desired to work on conserving this specific rice because, apart from being a traditional variety, it is well known among the local farmers. After years of strenuous effort I was able to collect and segregate enough seeds and gradually moved into cultivating solely navara rice in my 12 acre farm,” he says.
Several awards
The several awards and recognitions conferred by State, central governments and other leading agriculture institutions seem to prove the importance of his work.
Recently the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority conferred the second annual Plant Genome Saviour community recognition award on him.
“The farm has also formed rice clusters for navara and got it registered under Geographical Indication through farmer led initiatives. The entire farm is certified organic from 2006,” says Mr. Unni.
Many scientists, students, authorities of various government departments and agencies are visiting the farm to learn about this variety and its cultivation details.
For details interested readers can contact Mr. Narayana Unni at Navara Eco Farm, Karukamani Kalam, Chittur College P.O., Palakkad Dist, Kerala, India, Pin: 678 104, Phone: 04923- 221177 and 222277, email: unnysfarm@gmail.com, Mobile:09447277749.
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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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