I realized that I had not written about this observation about my Rice sales to Colombo homes. I deliver the rice I grow to homes in Colombo, and the reader would find it interesting to note that, while the family of the home eat red rice, the staff cook and eat white rice. I believe the red rice is more nutritious, So why do the staff prefer to eat white rice, when we would normally have thought they would prefer to eat red.
This was the surprising thing even in Polonnaruwa, where all my neighbors only eat white rice, usually parboiled as it is more filling too. They seem pretty insistent on eating only the white parboiled rice, where as I am more flexible, eating whatever rice that is put in front of me. The standard answer to the question is “apita kanna baha” or we cant eat it as we are not used to it. Only when the doctor orders in the case of parboiled red nadu for diabetics do they make a special effort at eating the more nutritious variety.
There is an organization that is marketing our old traditional varieties of rice. They maintain the rice is grown without the use of Pesticides or chemical fertilizers, This rice is milled only to remove the paddy husk, This rice is rich in vitamins, and different varieties are recommended for people with different medical conditions. However this organization which is assisting by marketing these types of rice grown by small farmers, is finding it extremely difficult to sell their produce. If this effort has proved futile with substantial NGO funds, what hope would I have to do the same.
Like in all things relating to food items, it is an acquired taste, and from talking to people it appears that the direction in Sri Lanka is to eat less and less nutritious rice, and possibly other foods, but the subject here is rice. Even the red rice I sell, I have to polish it to a degree, to reduce the redness so I sell as Rosa Kekulu Samba and not Rathu Kekulu Samba. Here again it is that the dark red is too heavy. Of course the rice polish, which is the best part of the rice seed is discarded further the lighter one wants it. This rice polish is known and rice bran (vee kudu) which I purchase to feed my cattle and in the larger scale is used as primary input in manufacturing chicken feed. So animals get a better diet in this sense than we humans.
It is important that better education on the health benefits of varieties of rice are taught to school children who can then make informed choices, along with parents, about the type of rice they should eat and get used to eating.