From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Parboiled Rice
Mains level : Not Much
Recently, 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.
- 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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