When the South Indian state of Kerala witnessed severe floods in 2018, almost all crops were destroyed apart from the pokkali paddy.
Pokkali is one of the oldest rice varieties in Kerala. It became prominent for its salt-tolerant and flood-resistant properties and is now being pitched as a climate-adaptive crop.
“Pokkali has the ability to withstand climate change because the crop can grow in places with saltwater incursion,” says Jayachandran, a pokkali farmer.
Although pokkali has many takers now, cultivating this variety is a struggle due to the lack of government support for mechanisation, marketing and infrastructure development.
Reporter/Camera: Sandeep Sreelekha
Sound: Anand Jay
Edit: Sana Amir
Special Thanks: Members of the Ezhikkara Pokkali Farmers’ Self-Help Group
Additional Footage: Hegal (Director), Sivdas (DOP) and crew of Njan Pokkali documentary
Sandeep Sreelekha is a filmmaker and photographer based in Trivandrum, Kerala. He can be reached at @sandeepsreelekh.