Pigmented rice and dragon fruit

An MTech farmer from Maharashtra, an investment banker turned idli entrepreneur in IT capital Bengaluru, Odisha's tribal farmers conserving pigmented rice, and India's biggest water palace (not in Rajasthan) are part of our newsletter this week

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
Pigmented rice and dragon fruit

Pigmented rice and dragon fruit

Dear Reader,

Have you ever experienced an earthquake? Growing up in the National Capital Region, I experienced some of them. But my most vivid memory is of fans swinging vigorously and a bucketful of water moving from side to side during the January 2001 Gujarat earthquake. The impact of the massive earthquake that hit Bhuj on Republic Day was felt in many nearby states. It left behind death and devastation. 

Rebuilding homes, schools and hospitals and creating livelihood opportunities from scratch required massive efforts. Many traditional artisans also lost their raw materials and workshops. While rehabilitation work was going on, there arose a fear that knowledge of traditional crafts would be lost forever. 

And that led to the establishment of the non-profit Khamir, which made centuries-old crafts of the Kachchh region a viable livelihood option for artisans once again, writes Aruna, my colleague. Khamir supports traditional artisans through design and marketing intervention. It clocked revenues of Rs 6.5 crore last year and has created a national market for the region’s endangered crafts. 

From Odisha, my colleague Niroj wrote about indigenous pigmented rice varieties that sell at Rs300 to Rs500 per kg due to their nutritional and medicinal properties. But out of the 320 landraces in Koraput in the 1950s, only 25 are under cultivation now as farmers shifted to hybrid and high-yielding paddy. 

Koraput’s tribal people have now stepped in to bring back the pigmented rice varieties. They are not only cultivating them but also consuming and conserving them. It has also given them an additional source of income.

Last week, I spoke to an MTech farmer from Maharashtra. Mahesh Asabe grows dragon fruit over 20 acres in the drought-prone Solapur district, earning Rs 2 crore annually. The 27-year-old engineer-farmer cultivates the Jumbo Red, Siam Red, White flesh and Yellow flesh varieties which are sold on the farm and also exported to other countries.

From a young age, Mahesh had made up his mind to continue the family’s farming occupation. He is now set to start a processing plant in June this year. It is heartening how he has combined his academic knowledge with farming in the fields. Do read his success story.

Our Sunday piece is on Neermahal. Did you know that it is India’s largest water palace and it is not in Rajasthan? Look up the story to know more.

We put out an interesting web story on Krishnan Mahadevan, an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, who quit his high-paying job to sell idlis at Iyer Idly. He does pretty good business by selling over 50,000 idlis monthly besides other items. Do go through it because it reiterates that following one’s heart is the best solution at a crossroads.

Happy Reading!




How Khamir is preserving the traditional crafts of Kachchh


Odisha's tribal farmers bring back pigmented rice varieties


Maharashtra’s engineer-farmer earns profit of Rs 9 lakh per acre from dragon fruit farming


This investment banker quit his job to become an idli entrepreneur