Ready-to-eat rice from Assam to fix food woes? | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Ready-to-eat rice from Assam to fix food woes?

delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2010 00:38 IST
Zia Haq
Zia Haq
Hindustan Times
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This is even better than a ready-to-eat meal.

A rice variety that requires no cooking has been pulled out of obscurity in Assam — where it was developed 18 years ago — and it promises to do a lot more than cut down on your cooking chores. The government hopes it will aid India’s growing food security needs and cut cooking fuel costs since it doesn’t require cooking.

The rice type — agonibora — was developed in 1992 by scientists at Titabor Rice Research Station in Assam, from an existing Assamese variety called “kumal chaul” or soft rice.

“It has very low amylose content, which makes this rice very soft. It can be had after soaking in plain water for 20 minutes,” said T.K. Adhya, chief of the Cuttack-based Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI).

Asked by the government to bring this rice variety out of Assam, the CRRI will this summer produce enough seeds so that they can be taken to major rice-growing states.

“Somehow, due to oversight, nobody knew of it. We are currently multiplying its seeds so we can get a threshold quantity this year for distribution,” Adhya told HT.

Rice is almost entirely made of up starch, which determines it hardness. Amylose is one kind of rice starch.

“Initially, we plan to grow the variety in compatible areas of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa,” Adhya said.

India has 44 million hectares of land under rice cultivation. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, rice is the staple of 65% of Indians. Government figures put the country’s rice production in 2009-10 at 89.31 million tonnes.