The traditional boiled and raw rice will now be produced as fortified rice to curtail the chronic nutritional deficiencies. (Representational image/DC)
HYDERABAD: Rice mills in the state seem to be in hurry to modify their machinery to produce fortified rice as the Central government introduced ‘fortification of rice and its distribution under public distribution system’ to address the issues like anaemia and micronutrient deficiency among people.
The traditional boiled and raw rice will now be produced as fortified rice to curtail the chronic nutritional deficiencies.
The Bureau of Standards (BIS) specified that fortified rice includes iron, folic acid, and vitamin B 12. The department of food and public distribution, in consultation with the ministry of women and child development and department of school education and literacy, decided to scale up distribution of fortified rice in all integrated child development scheme (ICDS) and the Prime Minister POSHAN scheme.
Fortified rice is being supplied from April, 2021 in a phased manner leveraging domestic supply chain through Food Corporation of India (FCI) and states. Rice millers in Telangana state began revamp of their machinery to produce fortified rice. Earlier, a few rice millers added blending machines to produce fortified rice and now a few others are setting up advanced machinery imported from China to produce fortified rice.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Dhanpal Narayana, a rice miller from Nizamabad said they had set up imported machinery to produce fortified rice. "One kg of fortified rice is being mixed in 99 kgs of raw or boiled rice," he said.
"We have a capacity of 20 tonnes per day of fortified rice machine, but are producing less quantity of rice," he said.
"The Centre fixed a price of Rs 72 per kg for fortified rice, but we are giving it for Rs 52 to Rs 62 per kg to rice millers, who mix it in boiled and raw rice," he explained.
To encourage fortified rice utilisation, the Central government reimbursed rice price to millers, he said. Fortified rice was beneficial to all, except cancer patients, he said. Telangana State Rice Millers’ Association general secretary V. Mohan Reddy said utilisation of fortified rice gradually increased in the state. Initially, fortified rice was being distributed for welfare hostels and government schools, he said.
Due to the production of fortified rice, the Central government also agreed to procure 6.05 lakh metric tonnes of boiled rice from Telangana state, he said.