Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 18:
The Odisha government is considering an upward revision of the permissible limit of damaged, discoloured paddy and red grains in rice under the fair average quality (FAQ) norms by one per cent for the kharif marketing season 2014-15.
Sources said the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare (FS&CW) department is considering the suggestion of the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd (OSCSC) for upward revision of damaged, discoloured, sprouted and weevilled paddy to 5% from existing 4% and red rice grains (raw, parboiled, single parboiled) from 3% to 4%.
The suggestion came after the Corporation found out that farmers are preferring to cultivate ‘Kulia’ like paddy in low lying areas, a crop that acquires reddish colour following heavy water resistance of the grain. However, the Food Corporation of India and OSCSC usually reject partly damaged paddy and the reddish coloured rice during procurement, resulting in heavy losses to farmers.
“During the course of quality inspection at the time of procurement in FCI and OSCSC depots, rejections are made for the red grain rice and FCI officials suggest repeat polishing. Polishing may further improve the colour, but will increase the quantum of broken rice which again shall not be accepted as per the Uniform Specification,” said managing director of OSCSC in a letter to the secretary of FS&CW.
Kulia paddy is cultivated in low land which is regularly marooned by rain as well as flood waters. The paddy is being cultivated in Nayagarh and Jharsuguda districts, Athagarh sub-division of Cuttack district and other parts of the state. This variety of paddy has heavy water resistance capacity and can survive submergence over a week. The reddish rice produced by this variety is generally preferred by the local people over other rice varieties available in the market.
However, rice millers, the prime purchasers of paddy from farmers and who in turn supply the rice after milling to FCI now express concern over the lack of assurance over the purchase of this variety after milling.
Last year, the state government had urged the Centre to procure the discoloured paddy from the state, particularly from the districts hit by cyclone Phailin and floods.