GANGTOK: Kailash Rana Mangar, a Sikkim farmer since 1985, has developed his unique rice variety. The rice variant has been registered in his name as per the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act (2001). Rana has been cultivating the rice variant on his field since 2005 from a popular rice variant ‘Kalo Nunia Dhaan’.
This is the first rice variant to be patented from Sikkim by a farmer. Rana brought the rice variant with a unique gene pool to the attention of Sikkim’s Science and Technology Department in 2013. Following this, he secured the intellectual property rights for the rice variant in 2020 after clearance.
Speaking with EastMojo, Kailash Rana Mangar highlighted his long struggle to secure the intellectual property rights for his unique variant. “I have been practising farming since 1985 in my field spread across 1 hectare in Saramsa, Ranipool. Back in the 1990s, I started learning new farming techniques of hybridisation from the ICAR, visiting various research-based events in Meghalaya, Manipur, Orissa and Hyderabad.
All that helped me develop the new variant. Following this, I got recognised by the State government for my contribution to farming in 2012 with Sikkim Samman. But it took years to patent my unique variant. It has been a continuous effort with Science and Technology department since 2013. They had asserted on the unique characteristics and whether the same was subject to change over the years. After observation for over 7 years, my rice variant has finally been recognised.”
Rana informed that his variant of rice has different gene data as compared to its parent Kalo Nunia Dhaan variant and can be grown in warmer places like Saramsa, Jorethang and even the plains. The recognition of the new variant ensures, that Kailash Rana variant, will be a patent of the farmer for the next 6 years with all rights to produce, cultivate, sell, market and even export lying with only Kailash Rana for 6 years. Following that, he can reclaim the intellectual property rights on the variant once again in 6 years.
Rana also acknowledged the tireless effort of the Science and Technology department in ensuring intellectual property rights to him.
Science and Technology Director Bharat Chandra Basistha informed, “When we learned about his unique variant of rice, we had to maintain its secrecy for years. We urged Kailash Rana not to sell or give away the uniqueness of his variant to anyone. It was a long period, and we kept on urging him to have it kept to himself and not selling it in the common market. Now, with the recognition under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act, the rice variant will be known as Kailash Rana variant, and anyone willing to cultivate the variant or sell the same has to reach a consensus with Rana.”
On the recognition, Kailash Rana was felicitated by the Science and Technology Minister Karma Loday Bhutia at his office in Tashiling Secretariat on April 7. The Minister stated, “As unique variant as Kailash Rana has developed, we acknowledge his contribution to the farming community in Sikkim. He has shown a path where we can grow something unique of our own, thus creating a market across the country and even for export. This will be an inspiration for other farmers to follow as well, and they must learn to develop their unique variant. The Science and Technology will aid them in securing the intellectual property rights as for Kailash Rana, my heartiest congratulations to him”.
Earlier in 2020, ICAR in Sikkim had also developed four new rice variants in Sikkim, which was then considered the first rice variant to be unique only to Sikkim.