History of Rice in Sri Lanka

Rice has been cultivated in Sri Lanka for almost 3000 years and to this day remains a major food in many of our national cuisines. Rice in Sri Lanka has played a prominent role in our country’s history, economy, agriculture and most importantly our health and survival for centuries.

Traditional rice is considered as one of the most nutritious staple foods. traditional rice were valued among ancestors of Sri Lanka and was the secret behind their incredible fitness. In the past , Sri Lanka was known to have produced over 2000 varieties of native rice. However, by the 20th century the number had decreased to 567.

This is mostly due to the growing ignorance among the general public of the importance and value of traditional rice, especially when it comes to matters of health and nutrition. In the past ailments such as heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes were almost unheard of. Our ancestors lived long, wholesome and healthy lives. Specialists have credited this to the diet followed by our ancestors, in which rice took the place of honor.

Kalu Heenati
It’s a red rice with dark, fine grains. Kluheenati, which literally means dark, fine grain, is a highly nutritious red rice that is considered to have medicinal properties, and is particularly recommended for lactating mothers.

Murungakayan
A type of red rice with a high nutritional value

Kuruwee
A type of red rice with small grains Kuruwee literally means ‘small rice’, and is a sweet and soft red rice.

Gonabaru
A very rare variety of red rice that was the staple diet of both poor and rich in ancient times.

Dhikwee
Dhikvee is a soft and nourishing red rice that is high in nutritional value.

Suwandel
Suwandel is a rare white rice that is, as its translated name indicates, fragrant

Pachchaperumal
it is a wholesome short grain red rice that when cooked takes on a deep rich burgundy colour . Pachchuperumal means ‘Buddha’s colour’ and has been considered a divine rice in traditional Sinhalese culture. It has been used for centuries in ‘Danes’ (offerings to the monks during a thanksgiving or vow to the gods for rain, protection of crops etc)

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