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‘The rice that needs no cooking’: magic rice variety from Assam gets GI tag

From the warriors of the Ahom kingdom then to the farmers of lower Assam now, the ‘magic’ Boka saul — which recently got a GI tag — has been a breakfast staple for centuries now.

In parts of lower Assam, especially during the ‘xaali’ season (the hottest, most strenuous period of paddy farming that starts in June and ends in December), farmers subsist, almost entirely, on a specific kind of indigenous rice: boka saul, or ‘mud rice’. Those who know about this special variety of “soft” rice, swear by it. And those who do not — well, the geographical indication (GI) tag, which has just been bestowed upon it by the Government of India’ Intellectual Property India (IPI) body, should do the job.


In parts of lower Assam, especially during the ‘xaali’ season (the hottest, most strenuous period of paddy farming that starts in June and ends in December), farmers subsist, almost entirely, on a specific kind of indigenous rice: boka saul, or ‘mud rice’. Those who know about this special variety of “soft” rice, swear by it. And those who do not — well, the geographical indication (GI) tag, which has just been bestowed upon it by the Government of India’ Intellectual Property India (IPI) body, should do the job.


From 2014 onwards, Baishya’s Lotus Progressive Centre (a Nalbari-based NGO that has been working specifically for the conservation and preservation of indigenous rice varieties since 1999) along with Simanta Kalita of Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Guwahati, has been doing research and running scientific tests in order to acquire a GI tag for the rice.


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