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Monday, December 23, 2013

harvesting rice..... something on mappillai samba

Have you heard of – ‘Oryza sativa’…. .. we live on it…

A Google search on Samba – could throw many results… ‘Samba’  is a Brazilian dance and musical genre originating in Bahia, Brazil, and with its roots in Rio de Janeiro and Africa. Considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions, samba has become an icon of Brazilian national identity.   ‘Samba’  is a free software re-implementation of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol, originally developed by Andrew Tridgell. As of version 3, Samba provides file and print services for various Microsoft Windows clients and can integrate with a Windows Server domain, either as a Primary Domain Controller (PDC) or as a domain member.

…… what should strike us immediately is our staple food (for us South Indians) ……… the RICE…. ‘Oryza sativa’ is commonly known as Asian rice. Oryza sativa is the cereal with the smallest genome, consisting of just 430Mb across 12 chromosomes. It is renowned for being easy to genetically modify, and is a model organism for cereal biology.  Internationally there reportedly are more than 40000 varieties of rice and some of the Indian varieties would include : Basmati, Champaa, Kamini, Gobindo bhog, Ponni, Molakolukulu, Patna …..

To us Ponni and IR8 readily comes to mind.  …..  Ponni Rice is a variety of rice developed by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in 1986. It is widely cultivated in TamilNadu.  The name  literally means 'like gold'. Since River Cauvery is also called 'Ponni' in Tamil literature there is a notion that the rice could have been named after the river.  Decades earlier in 1961 when  India was on the brink of mass famine, a new semi-dwarf variety was introduced and much credit for that goes to the then Agriculture Minister Sri C Subramaniam.  It was stated that this variety would yield more per hectare and was dubbed as miracle rice.  

There are traditional varieties …. One of which is ‘Samba’ grown in Tamilnadu and parts of Sri Lanka…… this has a small ovular grain, compared to the long grain of basmati rice. Samba rice has a distinct taste and can be described as having a more 'starchy' or 'corny' flavor, and thus is an acquired taste preferred mainly by the locals. The grain itself is much harder than the other varieties and when cooked is less 'fluffy' in texture so gives a more filling meal with a higher caloric value. Of the traditional varieties – some are : Mappillai samba, Seeraga samba, Kundrimani samba, Poovan samba, kudavazhai, and ……

While most farmers started using manures and fertilizers, there is a growing feeling that it is not beneficial to the health of mankind ~ now there is emphasis on organic food  grown without usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  In this beautiful World, where film stars, Cricketers and politicians garner all the attraction all the time – once a while, farmers are also featured in newspapers and something is written recognizing them !!!!

Last year R Jayaraman hailing from a small village called Adirangam in Kattimadu block, Thiruthuraipoondi in Tiruvarur was conferred the ‘best organic farmer award’.  It was good to read that several farmers and associations around Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, and Nagappattinam vouched him to be the best choice for providing information on  ancient paddy seeds. Poor financial situation at home compelled him to discontinue studies and take up some odd jobs. He learnt on his own and now possesses more informatkon on climate variations and crop patterns.  The Hindu reported that some of the important varieties maintained by him are : Kattuyanam (best suited for flood condition),Poongkar (suited for saline soil), Karunguruvai (best for making biriyani), Kuzhiyadichan (for alkaline soil), Kudavaalai, Gauvuni, Mappillai Samba (for high energy), Samba Mosanam (best suited for making flat rice), Arupatham Kuruvai (short duration variety (60 days).

This photo in Dinamalar of date [23.12.13] enthused me to write this post….  The man seen here is Mr Krishnan (62) a farmer in Chinna Akkramesi village near Ramanad known to be a dry area.  He has been  harvesting ‘mapillai samba’ ~ known to grow up to 7 ft, contains more starch and is good for health.  It is reported that the yield will 40 to 50 bags every acre.  The farmer attributes the growth to the advice of Organic Farmer Nammalwar and is now having fully grown paddy which was not affected by pests though no fertilizers were used.  He plans to harvest them by Thai Pongal….. many appreciations to the ilks of vivasayi Krishnan and many others like him

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

23rd Dec 2013.


  1. can i get the seeds of mappilai samba paddy

  2. Can I get the seeds of mapillai samba paddy