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Sunday, 22 November 2015

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Move to develop value added products from rice

With a bumper harvest of rice in the last Maha season, Sri Lanka faced a severe crisis with regard to the storage of paddy resulting in the inability of the Paddy Marketing Board and related State institutions to purchase paddy from farmers under the guaranteed price scheme of the Government.This necessitated the emergency commissioning of other available storage facilities including a building in the Mattala International Airport. With the coming Yala crop the crisis is expected to deepen.

It has, therefore, become necessary to find a medium to long term solution to the problem, as the inadequate storage capacity of paddy will continue in the future as well. Other rice producing countries have gone into value added products such as rice bran oil which is an edible oil that is rich in nutrients, while Sri Lanka still processes rice in the same traditional manner, using the end product only as a staple food.

Production of Value Added products with rice as a base is an area with high potential. Rice bran could be used for the production of rice bran oil and oleo-resins. Value addition could be carried out to produce vitamins and vanillin with the end products mostly solids.

Most research institutions in Sri Lanka, although having human capital and technological capacity have so far failed to carry out research with a link to industry to commercialise its research. For instance, it has been pointed out that the Department of Agriculture which has a large number of researchers still produces agricultural products in the traditional manner, rice being an example.

- National Chamber of Exporters media release

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