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APART targets market development for rice-based products in Assam

Aiming to foster market development and linkages for the small and marginal paddy farmers of Assam, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) with its implementing partner Assam Agricultural University (AAU), under Assam Agribusiness and Rural transformation Project (APART), organised a round table meet on developing the rice value chain on February 22-23, 2022.

The event  brought in significant players from the field on a single platform. These included 30 Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs), academicians, policy makers, export agency namely Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), research institutions like North East Region - Farm Machinery and Testing Institute (NER-FMTTI), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), JNKVV, Jabalpur, Odisha University of  Agricultural & Technology (OUAT), National Rice Research Institute (NRRI)  and big retailers such as Amazon and Reliance.

The stakeholders exchanged significant knowledge and ideas during the course of this two-day meeting to fuel further developmental efforts in the rice value chain segment of the state.

During this event , with the objective of nurturing entrepreneurship, commercialising smallholder production and thereby transforming livelihoods, AAU with the technical support from IRRI under  APART also released six different value-added products of rice capturing the rich cultural essence of the state.

The rice products prepared by Sankar Azan Farmer Producer Company (FPC) of Nagaon and Jajiporia FPC of Jorhat included Aromatic brown rice, Joha Pithaguri (Rice powder), Akhoi (kind of puffed rice), Akhoi guri (rice flake mixture), Koraiguri (mixture of roasted rice flour and pulse) and Mix Chattu (mixture of different crops grain flours).

These rice-based products, found in most Assamese households, can be consumed in different ways. Pithaguri, which is made from rice flour, is used to prepare traditional delicacies like Pitha (kind of  traditional cake) and is also added to savoury items.

Akhoi which is puffed rice is used as a breakfast cereal, while Akhoi guri is puffed rice flour and Koraiguri can both be used to make traditional delicacies as well as condiments to savoury items. These products are being marketed by the FPCs and are already available in the local market. Tese FPCs were promoted under APART and each of them has already established a Custom Hiring Centre in their respective development block with the technical support of IRRI.

Addressing the meeting, Dr. Sudhanshu Singh, Director, IRRI-South Asia Regional Centre (I-SARC), Varanasi, focused on the IRRI’s role in APART to bring different climate resilient and premium quality rice varieties, mechanisation for developing entrepreneurs, expertise and strength of Centre of Excellence for Rice Value Addition (CERVA) at I-SARC in development of value-added products from rice by using the traditional varieties of Assam.

The program was hosted by Dr. Suryakanta Khandai and Jyoti Bikash Nath, IRRI.