JEYPORE: Koraput, known for growing several varieties of rice, is yet to have a mill to process parboiled rice forcing the farmers to depend on other districts. Despite being handicapped by lack of mill, the farmers continue to cultivate the traditional variety of paddy during rabi season. In order to meet the farmers’ demand, the district administration invites rice millers from outside to take part in procurement and milling of parboiled rice. This rabi season is no exception.
As many as 21 rice millers from Kalahandi and Balangir had procured six lakh quintals of paddy during the last rabi season. This apart, the State Civil Supply Corporation procures a large chunk of rabi paddy from farmers and mills the stock outside which is then sent to coastal districts for distribution under National Food Security Act.
The farmers of Koraput district produce around 10 lakh quintals of paddy every rabi season when irrigation water is available. However, there are no takers for rabi paddy in the absence of parboiled rice processing unit. There are 90 rice mills in Jeypore and Koraput sub-divisions besides the Civil Supply Corporation. These rice mills only process raw paddy and deliver it to different State Government-run godowns.
Local millers said the amount of parboiled rice grown in rabi season is less compared to Kharif and opening a parboiled rice processing unit requires huge investment. Operating a parboiled unit costs over ` four crore and none of the rice millers here are willing to invest that amount of money. Civil Supply Officer, Koraput, Tularam Nayak said the administration has been urging millers to set up parboiled rice processing unit. “We hope some millers will start the units from this year,” he said.