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Eastern India can be country's rice bowl: Assocham

The country's eastern region has the tremendous potential to emerge as the country's 'rice bowl', a recent study industry body Assocham said.

The study titled 'Towards Second Green Revolution in Eastern India: A Road Map' also said the eastern region would be able to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about ten per cent in paddy production, if the country manages to bridge the gap between potential yield and actual yield.

"The paddy production in the eastern region of India can reach about 670 lakh tonnes (LT) by 2017-18 from the current level of over 580 LT as the region holds tremendous potential to emerge as the 'Rice Bowl of India,' as every quintal increase in yield would push rice production by over two million tonnes," the study said.

West Bengal spearheads eastern India in paddy production to the tune of about 150 lakh MT followed by eastern UP (140 LT), Odisha (70 LT), Bihar (68 LT), Chhattisgarh (63 LT), Assam (47 LT) and Jharkhand (34 LT), it said.

According to the study, Odisha's paddy production may reach 82 LT in three to four years time period.

By 2017-18, the study predicted, Odisha can reach this feat through increased usage of high yielding varieties of seeds, improved soil drainage, spreading rice-fish culture and taking other such measures.

It also said that discouraging rice cultivation in marginal lands and diversifying in favour of oilseeds and pulses, utilisation of rice fallows are certain significant steps required to increase cropping intensity and crop productivity in Odisha.

In its study, Assocham has suggested that apart from rice suitable evaluation of promoting other crops like maize, pulses and oilseeds should be undertaken for optimum utilisation of land and local needs in the region.



Minimum floor price for native aromatic rice varieties mooted

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).

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