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Assam’s famed red rice on way to US markets

Date: 06-03-2021
Subject: Assam’s famed red rice on way to US markets
GUWAHATI: In a major boost to India’s rice exports potential, the first consignment of ‘red rice’ was flagged off to the US. 

The Iron-rich 'red rice' is grown in the Brahmaputra Valley without the use of any chemical fertilizers. The local rice variety is called ‘Bao-dhaan’ and is an integral part of Assamese traditional dishes. 

The flagging off ceremony of the export consignments was carried out by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) chairman M Angamuthu at sonepat in Haryana on Thursday in the presence of Vinita Sudhanshu, deputy general manager of APEDA and officials of LT Foods, which has sourced red rice in bulk from parts of eastern Assam. The consignment was dispatched to the US, en route to a seaport in Mumbai. 

As the export of ‘red rice’ grows, it is expected to enhance farm income in the Brahmaputra flood plains. Jorhat, Golaghat and Lakhimpur are among the districts that are major producers of red rice. 

“Assam has a rich diversity of agricultural products. Joha rice and red rice have the potential to become popular globally. Ginger, pineapple and orange, too, have good potential. We are planning to market all these products,” Angamuthu told TOI, adding that they are planning to export Joha rice in large quantities to the middle-east. Besides being a nutritious diet for adults, it is important for baby food. 

The government had set up the Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF) under the aegis of APEDA. REPF has representations from the rice industry, exporters, APEDA officials, ministry of commerce and directors of agriculture from rice-producing states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. 

An APEDA release stated that during the April – January period in 2020-21, the shipment of non-Basmati rice witnessed an impressive spike. The non-basmati rice export was Rs 26,058 crore (3,506 US$ Million) during April-January, 2021, against Rs 11,543 crore (1,627 US$ Million) reported during April-January, 2020 period. The exports of non-Basmati witnessed a growth of 125% in Rupee terms and 115% in Dollar terms. 

The sharp spike in rice exports, especially during a phase where globally, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the supply chain of many commodities, has been attributed to the government taking prompt measures to ensure the export of rice while taking all the Covid-19 related safety precautions. 

“We took several measures in terms of ensuring safety and hygiene because of the operational and health challenges posed by Covid-19 while ensuring that rice exports continued uninterrupted,” Angamuthu added. 


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