Many of you might be aware of the FSL-India team’s visit to Shekar Shetty Uncle’s farm every July to do rice plantation. This plantation happens always when the monsoon starts, so the paddy fields (rice fields) are flooded with water, making rainwater their only way of irrigation. The fields will be soaked during the months of July and August.
During the month of September, the rains will be over and the paddy field goes dry, and the rice grains which have already sprouted will start drying too, making the paddy straw turn from green to yellow in colour. It is then, in the October month, when the paddy fields are yellowish-brown, when the farmers will come and do the harvesting. Nowadays, even in this rural area of India, technology is taking over the work of the farmers. That is the reason why we requested Shekar Shetty Uncle in advance to give us some space before the machines come, to have the hands-on experience of traditional paddy harvesting.
It was hard, hot and tough but, overall, it was an amazing experience. Uncle and Aunty with two more farmers joined together to teach us how to do the work safely and efficiently. We have to use very sharp ‘katthis’ (scythes/sickles) to cut the bunches of paddy straw and we have to bend many times in order to harvest fast, but the experience was more than worth it!
Something special was that we were harvesting a unique type of rice. Many of you have heard about basmati rice, which is long and thin. On the other side, we have been harvesting Gulwadi sannaki. Gulwadi is the area, which means that this rice is a local type of rice, the breed of this area. Moreover, sannaki means ‘small type’, which means this rice grain is quite short. It is a very aromatic species of rice and it is said that if your neighbour is cooking Gulwadi sannaki, you will easily find out because of the smell reaching your house!
Overall, it was a lovely exposure for the FSL-India team. We thank Uncle and Aunty for the experience and all the international volunteers who joined us in the month of July for the rice cultivation!