Raipur | A protein-enriched rice variety has been developed by the Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalay (IGKV) here and researchers hope it would serve as a boon for malnourished population, especially children, in the tribal-dominated Chhattisgarh.
“Our researchers worked for seven years to develop the variety of rice that is rich in protein along with high zinc content,” Dr Girish Chandel, Professor in Department of Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, IGKV said.
“The rice variety will play a crucial role in fighting protein deficiencies,” claimed Chandel, who led the research.
“Since rice is the staple food of the state and consumed on a regular basis, the research focused on enhancing its micro-nutrients and protein contents. For majority of the people who do not eat meat products or can’t afford pulses, rice could be a good source of proteins,” he said.
“Our present varieties of rice are not rich in protein content as it is mainly having carbohydrates, so we are developing zinc-rich rice varieties along with rich protein content,” he informed.
The new developed rice variety has over 10 per cent protein content, which is three per cent more than what is found in any popular variety and has 30 PPM zinc content, Chandel said.
As per a survey last year, very high rate of malnutrition was found among preschool children in tribal areas showing conditions like being underweight and stunted growth, which indicates a critical situation, he said.
Over five lakh children in the state are underweight, with tribal districts like Bastar, Dantewada, Kondagaon and Narayanpur having a comparatively higher rate of malnourishment then other districts.
However, the government has been making several efforts with schemes like ‘Vazan Tyohar’ (weight festival) and nutritious meal week to overcome the malnutrition menace.