Dingaleshwara Swami of Balehosur has urged the State government to take steps to include red rice in the midday meal scheme, so that children get healthy food.
Inaugurating the three-day red rice mela at Laxmi Sadan here on Saturday, the swami said that red rice that was cultivated organically was a trove of nutrients, and its use should be promoted.
According to Chennabasappa Kombali, president of Desi Krishikara Balaga, the solution to the Cauvery dispute could be found in red rice cultivation. Varieties of this rice required less water to grow, he said.
Shanthkumar, convener of Bhatta Ulisi Andolana, and Neelam Maheshwari of the Deshpande Foundation too hailed the health benefits of red rice and its advantages for farmers.
Paddy conservator Shrenikraj Yalavatti, who has so far conserved 105 varieties of paddy, appealed to farmers to grow red rice, as it was less harmful for the environment.
As many as 60 paddy conservators, self-help groups and farmers from across the State are participating in the mela. As many as 250 varieties of red rice are on display and 25 varieties available for sale.