Kerala : Production of traditional aromatic rice varieties will be enhanced and optimum returns to farmers ensured, Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan has said.
He was accepting recommendations made at a workshop held at the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) here on Friday.
A proposal to procure native aromatic rice varieties at a guaranteed minimum floor price of Rs.40 was put forward at the workshop.
A.K. Gupta, director, Basmati Exporters’ Development Foundation, said strong ties between roller millers-cum-exporters and farmers were important to ensure sustainability of aromatic rice cultivation.
“There should be a healthy, transparent and trustworthy bond between key players for common gain and sustainable farming,” he said.
Even though Basmati had a wider patronage it was yet to get Geographical Indication (GI) tag. However, scented rice varieties such as Gandhakasala and Jeerakasala had been GI tagged.
He said at least 20 per cent of the market price should be guaranteed to the producer. In Delhi 1kg Jeerakasala rice cost more than Rs.100, but the money did not reach the producer.
Farmers could get their due only if links with millers and traders were established and support mechanisms put in place, he said.
Conservation and popularisation of aromatic rice cultivation through farmer participation in farm conservation and seed distribution was suggested.
Speakers at the workshop called for adequate processing facilities with rubberised hullers/roller millers, the Department of Agriculture’s support for supplying seeds with higher productivity, promotion of traditional hand-milled organic scented rice varieties as special premium brands and exploiting their potential in the global market for the benefit of farmers through the support of APEDA (Agricultural & Processed food Products Export Development Authority).
Courtesy : http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/minimum-floor...