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APEDA has offered to conduct buyer-seller meets on a regular basis to facilitate proper market linkage for the promotion of GI tagged rice from Kerala.

The uniqueness and taste of GI rice from Kerala and its demand from the Indian population in importing countries offer good opportunities for marketing GI rice, Simi Unnikrishnan, Assistant General Manager, APEDA, New Delhi, said.

Speaking at a farmers-scientists interface organised by Kerala Agricultural University on GI tagged rice, she pointed out that Kerala’s share in rice production in the country is only 0.51 per cent which can be improved by expanding the area and adopting the technologies recommended by KAU.

Lack of proper storage

India ranks first in exporting rice and China, Philippines and Nigeria are the major rice importing countries. However, the excessive use of pesticides, lack of quality seeds, untimely rains, and irregular supply of demanded quantities of rice, not meeting the global standards were the constraints in rice exports. Traceability, pesticide residues are the key challenges faced while exporting rice to European countries. Lack of proper storage facilities at village level leads to quality deterioration which often leads to rejection of the produce, she said.

APEDA would support farmers in exporting their produce for premium price if the quality as prescribed by the importing countries and continuous supply of the produce are ensured, she added.

GI registration

Speakers suggested collaboration between farmer societies and marketing agencies, support for authorised user registration, creation of business models with support of funding agencies for GI registration, publicity through social networks and online marketing of GI rice for increasing its economic viability.

There were also demands for the creation of a platform for enrolling more farmers in Palakkadan Matta Farmers’ Producer Company Ltd to cultivate GI rice and support from KAU and APEDA for marketing.

Raising the concern of using the brand name of Palakkadan Matta by the middlemen in other states, speakers have also sought the intervention of the government to curb the use of this brand name illegally. They also stressed on the need to upgrade skills in the areas of value addition in rice to enhance the income of farmers and attract rural youth towards rice farming.

Source: The Hindu Business line

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