The newest super food of Thailand is the rice berry. It has a tempting dark purple colour, the texture is tender, contains properties such as zinc and antioxidant that can help fight diseases and the palette is treated with a lingering nutty flavor. It is now used in organic cuisines in Chiang Mai because it is high quality and is grown in an organic manner. This variety is taking over the less healthy option which is the polished white rice that has become a staple to majority of Asians.
According to cultivators and experts in the agricultural sector, new varieties such as riceberry can be helpful to small farmers because it will lessen their burden of debt, raise their income and answer a number of the existing problems. These small farmers composed the majority of the agricultural industry of Thailand.
The leader of Green Net Cooperative, Vitoon Panyakul, said that there is an increase of 8 per cent in the production of organic food in the country especially rice. The increase has been recorded in the last five years. In 2015, over 13,150 farms are using the practice of organic farming. The nationwide cooperative is a social enterprise responsible in connecting the consumers with sustainable farmers.
The new varieties of rice are still far from being staple in the country but there is an increasing number of consumers that are cautious when it comes to produce because of the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. There are a total of 10 rice alternative but riceberry is currently dominating the trend. It is a cross between two breeds of rice, the jasmine rice and non-glutinous black rice.
It is not easy to grow organic varieties of rice despite the fact that input costs is lower since no fertilizer is needed and the market price is higher. Organic farming requires more labour and the yield at the beginning is considerably lower. There is currently an increasing demand for these varieties, used in organic cuisines in Chiang Mai, not just domestically but internationally as well that farmers who knows how to do organic farming are being rewarded generously.