Consumers who want to know about the origin of their basmati rice can read about the lush, green foothills of the Himalayas depicted on product packaging. The reality appears far less appealing. 


Coming from the Punjab region of India, the famous Basmati rice is being consumed worldwide. Farmers in the region use pesticides, chemicals and fertilisers, to meet the growing demand – and to be able to provide for their families. As a result, the rivers and groundwater have become heavily polluted and tens of thousands of people are suffering from cancer, miscarriages and birth defects.



The heart of this transmedia project is an interactive documentary especially made for mobile phones (but accessible on other devices as well) about the lives of people in a small town in Punjab called Mari Mustafa.







Lighthouse Reports  / Adriane Ohanesian / Hanna Sistek

Lighthouse Reports / Klaas van Dijken

Adriane Ohanesian

Lighthouse Reports / Klaas van Dijken

Edit / Color grading / Adriaan de Koning

Klaas van Dijken / Ludo Hekman / Adriane Ohanesian / Hanna Sistek

Development / Michiel van der Ros
Daan Heuvingh

Studio Sugarfree

Financial Partners

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) 
Google Digital News Initiative (Google)
Free Press Unlimited Postcode Loterij Fonds voor journalisten


El precio del arroz basmati
El País (Spanish)

Tödlicher Reis
Die Welt (Germany)

Witte rijst met een donkere rand
National Geographic (Netherlands)

Hoe basmatirijst India ziek maakt
Trouw (Netherlands)

Aan basmati zit een luchtje
Algemeen Dagblad (Netherlands)

De ware uitwassen basmatimythe nu zichtbaar
HP/De Tijd (Netherlands)

Basmatiboeren lijden opvallend vaker aan kanker
Knack (Belgium)

Basmatiens bakside: Et døende Punjab
Agenda Magasin (Norway)

I Punjab känner alla det vita risets mörka baksida
HBL (Finland)