You can support Namma Nellu campaign by making a donation through the Namma Nellu website established by CIKS or through the bank account details that are given in our website. Your contribution will go towards the conservation of traditional rice varieties. The amount required to support one TRV is Rs. 15,000/- (Rupees Fifteen Thousand Only) in one single location. Typically, for reasons of safety, CIKS aims to conserve each variety in at least two locations, so that a variety is not lost due to an extreme weather event (such as unusually heavy rainfall) in a single location. You can consider offering support for the conservation of any number of varieties based on your interest and the funds that you can donate. You can also donate for sponsoring an event or provide general donations to Namma Nellu inorder to support purchase of equipments machineries, cattle, organic inputs and Technology resource centre maintenance. If any corporate would like to collaborate with us on CSR sponsorships please get back to us at nammanellu@gmail.com. We will be happy to discuss with you and take it forward. To know more click this link.

  • During the course of our work for the last 30 years on traditional seed conservation, we have collected more than 160 varieties of paddy suitable for cultivation in Tamil Nadu. We have a network of farmers who cultivate and conserve them year after year. The farmers choose to cultivate one or two varieties depending on the soil type, irrigation facility and agroclimatic region to which they belong. These varieties are also conserved in more than one location so that they are not destroyed due to the vagaries of climate. Besides this we also experiment with any new variety that we get and cultivate it for at least a few seasons before passing it on to the farmers. Sometimes we also get access to rare varieties and the amount we get may be only a handful (say a few grains). These are cultivated with great care and propagated. To know more about our story click here.

One may wonder how long such a conservation effort should continue. In this connection, we share the following details with you:

  • Cultivation of a variety for the purpose of seed production requires a different and specialised effort. The starting seeds must be pure and have good germination and vitality. The land must be fertile and have assured irrigation. In all stages of cultivation, efforts must be made to avoid contamination with other varieties. Seeds must be harvested and stored properly.
  • Certain varieties are cultivated by farmers only in specific tracts of land (such as saline tolerant varieties) or during times of specific need (such as short duration varieties in the case of delayed monsoons).
  • In public interest, it is essential that all varieties must be conserved and seeds of good quality (genetically pure, good germination and vitality) must be made available when needed.
  • Currently, since these seeds are not made available to farmers by the agriculture extension departments which focus on high yielding and modern varieties, it is essential that efforts as in situ conservation (such as Namma Nellu) must be continued long term.

A comprehensive field survey is conducted across all regions of Tamil Nadu to source seed samples of traditional paddy varieties that are new to our collection.
Please write to us at nammanellu@gmail.com and we will respond back to you and let you know about the available seeds and where it can be procured from.

Supporting the cultivation of Traditional Rice Varieties (TRV) encompasses vital aspects of organic farming. Your generous contribution can facilitate the acquisition of processing equipment, crucial for efficiently handling TRVs on a small scale while preserving their unique characteristics. Additionally, supporting sustainable agriculture involves acquiring cattle which is essential for various organic farming practices in the Indian context. Financial assistance can also address the shortage of timely and sufficient inputs for organic farming, promoting the widespread adoption of organic farming methods. While there is no possibility of adopting a specific farmer, your contribution directly benefits countless farmers in multiple ways. We do not encourage supporting/adopting individual farmers.

The program started with the vision ‘Conserving agrobiodiverity for food and nutritional security for all’ and our mission is to conserve and upscale cultivation and marketing of atleast 100 nutritionally and therapeutically important traditional rice varieties of Tamil Nadu and make available good germplasm of all these varieties in a decentralized fashion and create a network for the same. The Namma Nellu program encompasses a diverse range of activities aimed at conservation, upscaling cultivation, seed production, as well as conducting research to document the agronomic, nutritional, and therapeutic properties of traditional rices. The activities also extend to conducting capacity building trainings for cultivation and seed production, conducting research on TRV processing, production of inputs for organic farming, publication of education materials and books on TRVs, marketing initiatives, value addition and creating awareness about TRVs among the wider public. To know about all our activities click on this link.

The major impacts or achievements of this programme are as follows:

  1. Nearly 160+ varieties are conserved year after year in Sukkankollai experimental farm and also in farmer’s fields
  2. Nearly 50,000kgs of seeds are produced through this effort every year. This can be planted in more than 2000 acres
  3. This program has established standardized procedures for traditional rice harvest at the proper stage of maturity for processing as raw or parboiled rice. This is crucial for ensuring the quality of the rice and its suitability for various culinary uses.
  4. Equipments for milling have been procured to support the processing of traditional rice varieties. This is important for efficiently processing and preparing the rice for consumption.
  5. Consumers now have increased access to a growing number of TRVs of good quality. This ensures a diverse selection of rice options and helps preserve traditional rice varieties.
  6. Through this program extensive research has been carried out which has enabled sharing of authentic information about the agronomic, nutritional and therapeutic properties of TRVs. This knowledge is essential for promoting the health benefits associated with these traditional rice varieties.
  7. Information is being generated and shared about the use of TRVs in cooking and the preparation of specific dishes. This helps raise awareness about the culinary versatility of traditional rice varieties.
  8. Approximately 25 TRVs are consistently available in the market in high volumes. This consistent supply is essential for meeting consumer demand and sustaining the popularity of TRVs.
  9. About 10 TRVs are classified as “Emerging/Boutique Varieties,” indicating a growing demand for these unique rice types. The increased supply in the market for such varieties reflects their rising popularity.
  10. Through this program a range of value-added products based on selected TRVs has been successfully developed and tested. This diversification of rice-based products, including sweets and savories, has created new market opportunities and increased the economic value of traditional rice varieties.

Traditional Rice Varieties (TRVs) hold immense significance for agriculture and the community.

  1. Regional Adaptation: TRVs are adapted to local conditions, requiring less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Varieties like Kuzhiadichan, Chithiraikaar, and Sivappu Kuruvikar are well-suited to their respective regions, reducing the environmental impact of cultivation.
  2. Flood and drought resistance: Some TRVs, such as Samba Mosanam and Vadan Samba, exhibit resilience to floods and droughts, ensuring food security in unpredictable weather conditions.
  3. Saline Soil Tolerance: TRVs like Kalanamak and Kalarpalai can thrive in saline soils, making them essential for regions with high soil salinity.
  4. Disaster Resilience: The conservation of TRVs maintains a diverse genetic pool that can be crucial during disasters, as seen after the 2004 tsunami. These varieties came to the rescue of affected farmers by being well-suited to the disaster-affected lands.
  5. Multifunctional Use: TRVs can serve as fodder and roofing material (e.g., Kullakar), demonstrating their versatility beyond food production.
  6. Nutritional and Medicinal benefits: Many TRVs offer superior nutritional and medicinal benefits Eg. Pitchavari is helpful for diarrhea. Mappillai samba provides energy and stamina. Some varieties are useful for pregnant women and lactating mothers. Eg. Navara and Neelan samba
  7. Culinary Versatility: TRVs come in a wide range of taste profiles, making them suitable for various culinary preparations. For example, Kallimadaiyaan is ideal for peparing Manapparai Murukku, and some TRVs have unique aromas, such as Chakhao and Seeraga Samba suitable for preparing biryani and pulav

To know more information about all the TRVs Click here

High yielding varieties are not suited to all farming conditions and there are situations where the traditional varieties are better suited. For example, in the alkaline soils of Tamil Nadu, an indigenous variety of paddy called Kalarpalai alone can be cultivated. Varieties like Vadan Samba are highly drought resistant. Most indigenous varieties are resistant to pests and they are less vulnerable and more hardy. Indigenous varieties require less farm inputs (such as chemical fertilisers and pesticides) and they yield straw which is valuable to farmers as cattle feed as well as roofing material. Many traditional varieties fulfill specific nutritional and other dietary needs. Besides this, indigenous varieties provide the basic genetic material for developing any other variety in future

Every year nearly 150 traditional rice varieties are grown in 5 cents each under SRI, for seed production. We have done extensive experimentation and standardization of seed conservation through the system of – “Sustainable Rice Intensification (SRI)”. Due to the use of this SRI technique it has been possible to achieve cultivation with much lower seed rates and maintain a great degree of purity avoiding contamination since the quantity of seeds required per unit area of cultivation (the seed rate) is quite low. We produce nearly 50,000kgs of seeds through this effort every year right now. This can be planted in more than 2000 acres.

Nutritional properties of 130 TRVs have been studied, through collaborative projects and individually by CIKS. The parameters analysed for each rice variety were Moisture and total ash, Total protein, total fat, dietary fibre, Carbohydrates, Energy, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Phosphorous

Total protein-With respect to protein we find that the values of TRVs are in the range of 6.22 to 11.64g/100g. As per the data from IFCT (Indian Food Composition Table) the protein value of normal white rice is in the range of 7.81 to 7.94g/100g. 89 traditional rice varieties were found to be high in protein and 17 varieties contained very high protein

Iron– With respect to iron we find that the values of TRVs are in the range of 0.29mg to 40.8mg/100g.  As per the data from IFCT (Indian Food Composition Table) the iron value of normal white rice is in the range of 0.65 to 0.72mg/100 g. 109 traditional rice varieties contained high iron, 15 traditional varieties had very high iron content.

Calcium-With respect to calcium we find that the values of TRVs are in the range of 3.59 to 58.2mg/100g. As per the data from IFCT the calcium value of normal white rice is in the range of 7.49 to 8.11mg/100g. 87 traditional rice varieties showed high calcium content and 31 traditional varieties contained very high calcium content

Zinc-The same trend was observed with zinc as well. The zinc values of TRVs are in the range of 0.14 to 5.54mg/100g. As per the data from IFCT the zinc value of normal white rice is in the range of 1.08 to 1.21mg/100g. 50 traditional rice varieties had high zinc and 70 traditional varieties had very high zinc values.

We have also conducted various studies to analyse the vitamin content, phytochemicals, antioxidant, antidiabetic and anticancer properties of selected traditional varieties. The findings of the studies have revealed that these traditional rices can be used for some of the conditions such as diabetes, cancer, inflammation, obesity, cardio vascular disease, arthritis, etc

We have brought out a number of publications on traditional rices covering a wide range of topics which also includes information about their nutritional properties of TRVs as well. To view some of our rice related publications Click on this link here. The Namma Nellu website also provides information about the nutritional properties of traditional rice varieties. We also regularly conduct food festivals and organize experiential lunches using TRVs. Recipes using TRVs are also made and uploaded by celebrity chefs in their Youtube channel to create awareness among the general public. Click Here to watch some of our Videos

Extensive research has been done on SRI cultivation, seed production techniques, the evaluation of morphological traits and physiochemical traits of traditional paddy varieties. We have done detailed documentation of the qualities, performance and agronomic characteristics of these varieties for several years in succession. This means that for some of the varieties, we have records spread over several years. Also extensive photo documentation of these varieties are available. Nutritional properties of 130 TRVs have been studied. Secondary research looking at scientific literature has also been done. We have conducted various studies to analyse the vitamin content, phytochemicals, antioxidant, antidiabetic and anticancer properties of selected traditional varieties. Detailed research on different aspects of Vrkshayurveda have been done to come up with solutions for organic agriculture. We have undertaken screening and development of natural products based on plant and animal products for pest control, crop protection, seed treatment, improving yield and soil fertility etc.

Currently there are large mills which process mainly the modern and hybrid varieties. The equipments are designed in such a way that they can process them only on a large scale and is also suited to processing only these grain varieties. A small scale unit is set up by us to process the paddy from grain to rice completely inhouse. A mini rice processing unit with seven different types of sieves to process rice in different size ranging from fine to coarse is available. We also have a mini flour machine which is used to help prepare value added products from rice flour thus obtained. Some of the other rice processing equipments available with us are Precleaner, Prehusker, Seperator, Destoner, grader and polisher

We regularly conduct training programmes for farmers throughout the State of Tamil Nadu. The farmers are also encouraged to visit the conservation sites to observe the varieties and learn about them in detail. We have focused on various topics from seed to market and our training programs are tailor-made to suit the needs of the farmers. Trainings are conducted on topics such as SRI (System of Rice Intensification), cultivation of traditional rice varieties, preparation of organic inputs for agriculture, value addition, preparation of business plans, setting up and running enterprises and so on.

One variety will be cultivated in an area of 2 cents in one location with a single donation amount of Rs.15,000/-. Typically, for reasons of safety, CIKS aims to conserve each variety in at least two locations, so that a variety is not lost due to an extreme weather event (such as unusually heavy rainfall) in a single location. You can consider offering support for the conservation of any number of varieties based on your interest and the funds that you can donate.

Incorporating traditional rice varieties into your diet can be one other crucial way by which you can support cause because it not only enhances personal nutrition but also plays an important role in boosting production and cultivation. Increased consumption leads to upscaled cultivation and conservation efforts. These traditional varieties align with organic farming practices, fostering a symbiotic relationship between our dietary choices and environmental well-being. Embracing these rice varieties is a proactive step towards promoting a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and contributing to the sustainability of our environment through the support of organic agriculture. To purchase TRVs online click on this link

Yes certainly, we will provide you with the Namma Nellu report annually. This comprehensive document will encapsulate a detailed account of our various activities and highlight the extensive conservation efforts we have undertaken throughout the year. It aims to offer transparency and insight into the impactful initiatives done from our end with your support to the cause of conserving traditional rice varieties and advancing sustainable agricultural practices.

Donations to our Centre are exempt under Sec. 80G of the Income Tax Act and you are eligible for a 50% Tax exemption. Upon your generous donation, we will promptly send the 80G exemption certificate to your designated email address. Your contribution not only supports our initiative but also qualifies for 50% tax exemption, and we will ensure that you receive the necessary documentation for your records. To know more about donation details Click here

Sempulam Sustainable Solutions leads our marketing endeavors, aiming to raise consumer awareness about traditional rice varieties and foster widespread consumption. For purchase of thesetraditional rices, reach out to Sempulam Sustainable Solutions Pvt. Ltd. via phone at 9962629925. Alternatively, explore the Sempulam website for convenient online orders catering to your household needs. The website also offers an array of TRV gift boxes, ideal for corporate gifting or expressing appreciation to loved ones, friends, family, and well-wishers.

One of the important ways in which we can reach out more effectively to consumers regarding TRVs is by preparing value added products which may include ready to use/easy to use preparations of various kinds. This can also help farmers to obtain a better value for their produce due to increased market demand as well as the possibility of some stages of the value addition being taken up by the farmers group themselves. We have partnered with Sempulam Sustainable Solutions to develop value added products. Special offerings are also made during festivals. Some of the value added products produced are rava, rice flour, idiappam flour, kanji mix, aval, pori, ribbon pakoda, thattai, kara sev, athirasams, laddoos etc. Special offerings are also made during festivals

Yes you can choose any variety you want to adopt and if you are interested in personally witnessing the cultivation of our traditional paddy varieties in our farm, feel free to reach out to us at nammanellu@gmail.com. By contacting us, we can coordinate and provide you with available dates for your visit, ensuring a good and enriching experience for you

Let's preserve our rice heritage, united in our efforts!