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What is Parboiled Rice, and why Centre wants to stop purchasing it?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Parboiled Rice

Mains level : Not Much

Last week, Telangana CM and members of his Cabinet staged a protest demanding a uniform paddy procurement policy. The protest came after the Centre said it was stopping the purchase of excess parboiled rice, of which Telangana is a major producer.

What is Parboiled Rice?

  • The dictionary meaning of ‘parboil’ is ‘partly cooked by boiling’.
  • Thus, the expression parboiled rice refers to rice that has been partially boiled at the paddy stage, before milling.
  • Parboiling of rice is not a new practice, and has been followed in India since ancient times.
  • However, there is no specific definition of parboiled rice of the Food Corporation of India or the Food Ministry.

How is it prepared?

  • There are several processes for parboiling rice.
  • The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru, uses a method in which the paddy is soaked in hot water for three hours, in contrast to the more common method in which paddy is soaked for 8 hours.
  • The water is then drained and the paddy steamed for 20 minutes.
  • Also, the paddy is dried in the shade in the method used by the CFTRI, but is sun-dried in the common method.
  • The Paddy Processing Research Centre (PPRC), Thanjavur follows a method known as the chromate soaking process.
  • It uses chromate, a family of salt in which the anion contains both chromium and oxygen, which removes the odour from the wet rice.
  • All processes generally involve three stages—soaking, steaming and drying. After passing through these stages, the paddy goes for milling.

Are all rice varieties suitable for parboiling?

  • Generally, all varieties can be processed into parboiled rice, but it is ideal to use long slender varieties to prevent breakage during milling.
  • However, aromatic varieties should not be parboiled because the process can make it can lose its aroma.

What are the benefits?

  • Parboiling makes rice tougher. This reduces the chances of the rice kernel breaking during milling.
  • It also increases the nutrient value of the rice.
  • It has a higher resistance to insects and fungi.

Certain disadvantages

  • The rice becomes darker and may smell unpleasant due to prolonged soaking.
  • Besides, setting up a parboiling rice milling unit requires a higher investment than a raw rice milling unit.

How much is the stock of parboiled rice in the country?

  • According to the Food Ministry, the total stock of parboiled rice is 40.58 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) as on April 1, 2022.
  • Out of this, the highest stock is in Telangana at 16.52 LMT, followed by Tamil Nadu (12.09 LMT) and Kerala (3 LMT).
  • The stock was in the range 0.04–2.92 LMT in 10 other states —Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Karnataka, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.
  • From the other 10 rice-producing states, including Telangana, the Ministry has no plan to procure parboiled rice.
  • In the coming days, the total parboiled rice stock will increase to 47.76 LMT.

How high is the demand?

  • The Food Ministry pegs the parboiled rice demand at 20 LMT per annum for distribution under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  • According to the Ministry, the demand for parboiled rice has come down in recent years.
  • In the last few years, production in parboiled rice-consuming states such as Jharkhand, Kerala and Tamil Nadu has increased, resulting in less movement to the deficit states.
  • Earlier, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) used to procure parboiled rice from states such as Telangana to supply to these states.
  • But in recent years, parboiled rice production has increased in these states.
  • The current stock is sufficient to meet the demand for the next two years.

 

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