From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Basmati Rice
Mains level : Not Much
In a bid to promote the business around basmati rice, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) notified standards for basmati rice. They will be enforced from August 1, 2023.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
- Basmati, pronounced is a variety of long, slender-grained aromatic rice which is traditionally grown in India, Pakistan, and Nepal.
- As of 2019, India accounted for 65% of the international trade in basmati rice, while Pakistan accounted for the remaining 35%.
- Many countries use domestically grown basmati rice crops; however, basmati is geographically exclusive to certain districts of India and Pakistan.
- India accounts for over 70% of the world’s basmati rice production.
- The areas which have a geographical indication are in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
What are the standards set out by FSSAI?
- Fragrance: Basmati has the characteristic fragrance identified with this variety and is free from artificial fragrances and colouring.
- Grain size: The authority has also set standards on parameters such as average size of grains and their elongation ratio after cooking.
- Vital contents: It has set the maximum limits for moisture, amylose content, uric acid, damaged grains and presence of non-basmati rice.
- Varieties included: The standards are applicable to brown basmati rice, milled basmati rice, parboiled brown basmati rice and milled parboiled basmati rice.
Economics of Basmati
- Basmati rice is exported out of India and had an annual forex earning of Rs 25,053 crore during 2021-22.
- India accounts for two-thirds of the global supply of basmati rice.
Significance of the move
- FSSAI hopes that the standards would protect consumer interest and ensure the quality of basmati rice.
- In 2020, India’s application for a geographical indication tag recognised in the European Union market was put on hold after Pakistan opposed the move.
- Before this, in 1997, Texas-based Company RiceTec developed American basmati varieties and patented them.
- These were introduced in the international market as ‘Kasmati’ and ‘Texmati’.
- However, the patent was contested in the year 2000 by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India’s premier science and industry organisation, saying the term ‘basmati’ could be used only for rice grown in India and Pakistan.
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