In mountainous areas of A Luoi, on the high mountains, somewhere there are still rice fields growing up rice varieties that not everyone may know. These rice varieties live in severe weather and climate conditions. That is valuable gene sources that should be studied and preserved.
The day before, we had the opportunity to go through Pa-co people’s upland rice fields on Pe-ke Mountains, in the northern of A Luoi. It was the area’s upland rice cultivation of compatriots in Hong Van and Hong Thuy communes. Sometimes, going through Pe-ke pass, among the reprocessing forests, looking at the upland rice fields seeding into pieces, we wanted to know differences between upland rice variety of Pe-ke Mountain and one in other places. Accidently, we found a upland rice field whose seeds were dark and long silks. For the first time in our life, we had seen the rice seeds which were not yellow, brown or red instead of an unusual dark color.
Have known a few rare types of rice of Ta-oi as well as Pa-co, but it was the first time seeing a black so we picked a branch of rice and asked the people. A lot of young people didn’t know whereas quite several old people known. They said that black rice called A Mut (according to Pa-co’s language), or Trui (according to Ta-oi’s language). It was very valuable and rare. Village patriarch of A Nam village, Hong Van commune, Mr. Vo Du explained that: “In the past, only the rich, or those had authority owned this rice variety and only their families had planted or harvested. Not everyone had been eating rice from the kernel.”
We went to ask the elderly which were descendants of the village chiefs, who used to consider wealthy families. Reportedly, there were two kinds of A Mut rice, with and without silks. Both of outside shape and viscosity of the rice seeds after cooking of two kinds were different. The kind with silks was more viscous. In the past, this kind of rice could stand cold weather, althought in high and rocky mountain perhaps there were some kinds of rice couldn’t stand cold weather, this A Mut rice was still alive. Particularly, the A Mut rice were rarely flat seeds.
Perhaps, among upland rice varieties of mountainous compatriots, there are a lot of rice varieties which had special ability to confront pests or weather, but we don’t know. Therefore, collection and study for both conservation and creating cross-bred rice varieties which are capable of living strong and high rice quality are what needs to be done quickly. Because, even compatriots, the less know of their rice varieties, let alone extremely rare rice varieties, how we know that how many kinds of rice in storage, in research institutes and centers.
Few years ago, when have just known about Ra-zu rice of compatriots in A Luoi, we used to hear that the Ra-zu rice seeds were hard and dry. However, when they ate the rice bowl of new rice Ra-zu, and through understanding, we known that it corrected with the old Ra-zu rice only. Of course, there were few kinds of old rice could keep the viscosity and initial aroma. At that time, visiting a compatriot’s house, being enjoyed cooked rice from Ra-zu, its aroma and viscosity made us unforgettable. Ra-zu was valuable, A Mut was even more valuable.
Scientists of medieval times, Le Quy Don mentioned to the rice varieties of mountainous people, in which, there were communities living in the western of O, Ly mountain districts. At least, he could have mentioned a few rice varieties of Ta-oi, Pa-co compatriots. Therefore, the interest of the upland rice varieties living in severe conditions has been mentioned for centuries. Continuing research to quickly add the gene of valuable rice varieties is thing to do. Because, if we implement slowly for a day, disappearance capacity of rare rice varieties will be higher. A Mut rice as an example, after a few years, going through the rice fields of ethnic villages, we have just seen it then. Maybe unpopularity of the rice variety is a remarkble thing, because precious qualities are needed to be kept in this rice variety.