For the first time, indigenous black rice of Manipur locally known as Chakhao, will be put for e-auction. North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited will be auctioning the local rice variety today from 10am.
Chakhao is grown in the plains and hills of Manipur where the soil quality is rich. It is said to be beneficial for the heart and helps prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
An official said that 12 buyers had pre-registered for the e-auction and around 118 metric tonnes will be auctioned. Of the 12 buyers, three are from Manipur. Officials are hoping that the auctions will give farmers a better price for their produce.
Moreover, Neramac has filed an application for GI (Geographical Indications) for black rice under the Union Commerce Ministry. Officials shared that the aim is to bring the rice to the international trading community and give more exposure to the local rice variety. Manipur’s agriculture department is collaborating with Neramac in this initiative.
Black rice has a mild nutty taste and a special aroma because of Manipur’s soil and pristine environment. Once cooked, the black colour usually turns deep purple. The production of black rice is around 1,800 MT in Manipur and is cultivated in 600 hectares.
The GI application says an important aspect of black rice cultivation is that farmers neither apply agro-chemicals nor use any motorized implements. Only human labour is used for farming.