Sathyanarayana Beleri Wins Padma Shri For 650 Varieties Of Rice

Amongst the world of achievers in agri-tech, Sathyanarayana Beleri has been recognised for his invaluable contribution of boosting the production of the Rajakayame rice variety, along with innovating the Polybag method to planting, cultivating and adding to the inventory of traditional paddy strains. His passion for cultivating different varieties of rice led him to acquire seeds from states like Karnataka, Assam, Manipur as well as the Philippines and Japan. Boasting of varieties like the saline-resistant Kagga rice to Ambemohar and Karigajavali, known for their healing properties, Beleri attributed his win to the cultivators of paddy in his hometown.

Image Credits: OOO Farms

His unique cultivation method – which constitutes of replanting paddy seeds into a bag of soil and cowdung, to be placed in a water-filled sheet of tarpaulin, to germinate. Distributing seeds to farmers in need, his quest for conservation began when an organic farmer shared the seeds of Rajakayame rice with him. With the Union Ministry previously awarding him the Plant Genome Savior Farmer Award in 2021, his work for conservation goes further to accommodate crops of pepper, jackfruit, mango, rubber and nutmeg.

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Beleri currently also uses his farm for educational purposes, with students and researchers frequenting to study the unique varieties of rice. Besides Beleri, Dukhu Majhi – a tribal environmentalist from the Sindri village in West Bengal was awarded for his social work in planting Mango, Banyan and Blackberry trees on barren land. Two more farmers, from Andaman and Assam also received the award for their efforts.