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Pokkali – The Story of a Rice

We are involved in reviving Pokkali, a red coloured rice which has a rare tolerance to salinity. A unique partnership we facilitated between local students, farmers, community members, cooperative bank and a local Panchayat has resulted in farming more than 50 tonnes of rice in a place where most of the paddy used to be left behind in the field due to lack of labourers as well as lack of demand. Inspired by the success of the initiative, the nearby Panchayat has joined us to develop a similar model for sustainable tourism in the region while promoting development of the region. World Food and Travel Summit lauded this initiative as a Climate Change Resistant Food initiative in 2013.

The Blue Yonder worked with Singaporean artist Sarbani Bhattacharya during the ITB-Asia 2014 to present the story of Pokkali. Sarbani was touched by the #BecauseICare campaign, a ‘Students in Palliative Care’ initiative based in Calicut. The group intervened to harvest the rice along with the farmers when they learnt of the agrarian crisis where the entire harvest would have gone waste otherwise. To celebrate this partnership between communities, Sarbani came forward to sketch live at ITB-Asia 2014 for three days and the work in progress of this ‘Story of a Rice’ is visible in this album.

The story of Rice: Experience Pokkali