Kalanamak rice is one of the finest quality scented rices of India. It derives its name from black husk (kala = black the suffix 'namak' means salt). This variety has been in cultivation since the Buddhist period (600 BC). It is quite popular in eastern Uttar Pradesh of India, and is also known as the scented black pearl of Uttar Pradesh. It was also featured in the book 'Speciality rices of the world' by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
These days, however, acreage under this variety declined sharply, forcing it to near extinction, for various reasons, some of which are
- Outburst of Panicle blast epidemics during two consecutive years: 1998 and 1999
- Tall stature of the crop causing lodging
- Long duration of harvest (6 to 7 months)
- Non-availability of quality seeds and research support
Kalanamak Rice was grown widely in Tarai belt of Uttar Pradesh, which comprised districts Siddharth Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Maharajganj, Basti, Gonda, and Gorakhpur. Until 30 years ago, the variety covered more than 10% of total rice cultivation area in Siddharthanagar. However, acreage growing this variety in this district declined to