GUWAHATI, April 22 - A Gurgaon-based exporter will soon procure the biggest-ever consignment of bao dhaan (red rice) from Assam to meet the growing demand for the produce in Canada, USA and a number of European countries.
This comes as a much-needed succour for farmers of the flood-hit areas of Upper Assam. Bao dhaan is generally grown in areas having higher land submergence that is not deemed suitable for other varieties of paddy.
Bao dhaan, a deep-water paddy that produces a particular type of organic red rice, is a staple food of rural Assam and has recently caught the imagination of European markets thanks to its antioxidant components, besides other nutritional factors.
Sources at the Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board told this reporter that buoyed by the quality of bao dhaan that was sent last year, Nature�s Bio Foods Limited, a Gurgaon-based exporter, has placed an unprecedented demand for it.
�However, we have agreed to send 6,000 quintals of the produce at a rate of Rs 1,500 per quintal. The Board acts as a facilitator and charges 2.5 per cent for handling the administrative costs,� said a source in the Board.
�We first buy the produce from the farmers on behalf of the exporters and the money is reimbursed later,� an official of the Board said.
Sources said that the exportable consignments of bao dhaan would be procured from districts like Dhemaji, Jorhat (Majuli), Morigaon and Lakhimpur and would be sent soon to meet the global demand. �Never before has the price of bao dhaan escalated so much,� an official of the Board pointed out.
�The world today has become health conscious, especially the people of developed countries. As bao dhaan is rich in certain nutritious components and is also believed to have medicinal value, the market can only grow, which is good news for the local farmers, especially those in the flood-affected areas,� an official of the Board said.
Dr Prasanna Pathak, Additional Director of Research, Assam Agriculture University, said, �Bao dhaan or red rice is very rich in iron and zinc. Its antioxidant property, which was identified recently by the developed countries, is what is drawing people towards it.�